Caroline County State's Attorney assigned to prosecute former deputy superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police


SNOW HILL — The State’s Attorney for Caroline County was assigned to serve as the special prosecutor in the DWI/DUI case against the former deputy superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Ernest J. Leatherbury Jr.

Joseph A. Riley was appointed by Worcester County District Court Judge Gerald V. Purnell at the request of Worcester County State’s Attorney Kristin Heiser. Riley will manage the case against the 55-year-old retired State Trooper and former UMES chief of police who was named second in command with the NRP in April 2016 until resigning after charges were filed.

Leatherbury is alleged to have backed into another vehicle around 9:30 p.m. on April 17 while at a traffic signal on eastbound U.S. .50 and Rt. 707 in Berlin. The vehicle would continue on but the person whose vehicle was struck followed the state-issue Chevrolet Tahoe.

It stopped at a parking lot off U.S. 113 and responding troopers reported detecting an odor of alcohol on Leatherbury, arresting and processing him at the barrack for later release to a sober driver. In addition to driving while impaired and driving while under the influence he was cited for failing to stop after an accident involving an attended vehicle.

Two additional citations that do not require a court appearance were issued, negligent driving and unsafe backing, which carry fines of $240 and $90, respectively. Leatherbury is represented by defense attorney John K. Phoebus.

Riley — a Baltimore County native who from 2008-10 was an assistant state’s attorney in Somerset County — will have the privilege of assigning another prosecutor in his office to this case “as necessity dictates.” The trial date is currently set for Oct. 26 in Worcester County District Court.