2021 | Politics

UPDATED: Prince George’s deputy state’s attorney running for top Montgomery County post

Paylor is third candidate to challenge incumbent McCarthy

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Prince George's County Deputy State's Attorney Perry Paylor has filed to run against incumbent Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy in the 2022 Democratic primary.

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This story was updated at 8 p.m. on July 6, 2021, to add comments from Perry Paylor

Prince George’s County Deputy State’s Attorney Perry Paylor has filed to run against incumbent John McCarthy in the 2022 Democratic primary for Montgomery County state’s attorney.

Paylor is the third candidate announcing a challenge to McCarthy, who is seeking a fifth term next year.

Paylor, a 52-year-old Silver Spring resident, currently oversees the grand jury screening, guns and drugs, major crimes and post-trial units in Prince George’s County, according to a campaign press release.

He also manages Prince George’s County’s “Back on Track” program — a diversion program for first-time drug dealers that includes community service, education and work components.

He previously was an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, and operated a private practice in Upper Marlboro from 2003 to 2018.

Paylor said in the press release that making changes to the criminal justice system is his main priority. He hopes to expand diversion programs for nonviolent offenders, get rid of cash bail and create a “conviction and sentencing integrity unit.”

He added that he thinks some defendants would be better served through mental health services than in the criminal justice system.

Paylor said in the press release that Montgomery County is “lagging behind most major cities and counties in Maryland and throughout the country when it comes to criminal justice reform.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Paylor said he thinks there needs to be a greater emphasis on diversion programs in the county. He said too many juveniles are being charged as adults.

“We need to find ways to divert nonviolent offenders and give them an opportunity to be held accountable, but also not have people bogged down with minor crimes that prevent them from joining the workforce,” he said.

Paylor hopes to expand Montgomery County’s diversion program, and said he would implement a program similar to “Back on Track.”

Paylor added that he doesn’t think the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office reflects the diversity in the county, particularly when in its leadership. He hopes to change this through recruiting more from local law schools in the D.C. region and expanding the internship program in the State’s Attorney’s Office.

He said he will continue in his day job in Prince George’s County during his Montgomery County campaign.

Paylor filed his candidacy on Tuesday, according to the State Board of Elections website. He joins Silver Spring attorney Bernice Mireku-North and Rockville attorney Thomas DeGonia, who have also announced they are challenging McCarthy in the primary.

Mireku-North has filed. DeGonia had not filed as of Tuesday evening.

McCarthy filed his candidacy for reelection in April, and had an active campaign website as of Tuesday.

The filing deadline is Feb. 22, 2022. The 2022 primary will be on June 28 and the general election on Nov. 8.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com