J. JOSEPH CURRAN, JR., Attorney General (Democrat)
J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General of Maryland since 1987, was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on July 7, 1931. He attended Baltimore parochial schools, Loyola High School, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Baltimore School of Law (LL.B., 1959). Mr. Curran served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict, with duty in Japan and Korea.
In 1986, Mr. Curran was elected Attorney General after serving four years as Lieutenant Governor with Governor Harry Hughes. In 1990 and 1994, he won re-election. Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office has been a national leader in consumer protection, criminal investigations, Medicaid fraud prosecution, securities regulation and antitrust enforcement. During his tenure, for the first time in State history, defendants have been sentenced solely for committing environmental crimes.
In 1993-94, Mr. Curran played a leading role in a number of controversial issues. He supported Maryland's first workplace smoking ban, efforts to improve judicial accountability, and legislation to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes.
Long a proponent of sensible gun-control laws, Mr. Curran helped lead the successful 1986 handgun referendum to ban over-the-counter sales of so-called Saturday-night specials in Maryland. He continues to be a vocal leader on this issue.
In a landmark 1990 case, Maryland v. Craig, Attorney General Curran successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Maryland's law permitting victims of child abuse to testify via one-way television. In 1993, the Office, along with attorneys general from other states, prevailed in the Supreme Court in a major antitrust case against insurance companies. Under Mr. Curran's direction, the Criminal Investigations Division obtained fines and restitution of more than $13 million and put behind bars 97 defendants, including suspected or convicted drug dealers prosecuted for not paying State taxes on their income from drug trafficking.
Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office is one of the country's best. Since 1986, Maryland has been awarded more than $4.5 million in restitution and fines from over 100 criminal prosecutions by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for fraud and patient abuse. In 1992, Maryland received national attention as the first state successfully to prosecute a physician for criminal neglect of nursing-home patients. The Consumer Protection Division also has obtained several million dollars in restitution and fines. Within the Division, the Health Education and Advocacy Unit alone has recovered nearly $420,000 for consumers by resolving billing disputes, and securing medical services from health insurance companies and HMOs. The Securities Division has initiated about 400 disciplinary actions each year against stockbrokers and investment advisers. The Division also has implemented the country's most comprehensive regulatory plan for investment advisers. The Antitrust Division has obtained criminal convictions of numerous persons and businesses for rigging bids in State construction and asbestos abatement contracts. It also thwarted a price-fixing agreement among Baltimore area pharmacies to raise prescription costs for HMO subscribers. With the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Curran established an in-house continuing education program; encouraged assistant attorneys general to handle pro bono cases; and has recovered millions of dollars for the State in various cases, including those involving the insurance and cable industries.
Attorney General Curran began his career in public service in 1958, elected to the House of Delegates as a law student. In 1962, he was elected to the State Senate. During this time, despite angry demonstrators picketing his home, he advocated open housing laws for Maryland. In 1967, Mr. Curran became chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and held that position for sixteen years.
In the General Assembly, Mr. Curran sponsored or fought for significant bills, including those creating the Court of Special Appeals and the District Court system. He consistently supported bills to improve the courts and the corrections system, toughen drunk-driving laws, guarantee equal rights, and require handgun permits. He also worked to modernize Maryland's divorce and alimony laws, reform adoption and guardianship, and protect victims of domestic violence.
Mr. Curran is married to the former Barbara Marie Atkins. They are the parents of five children, Mary Carole, Alice, Catherine, J. Joseph III (Max), and William (deceased). The Currans reside in the Homeland section of Baltimore City.
July 10, 1998
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