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Quick and Dirty

Wild Card

By Van Smith | Posted 12/28/2005

On Dec. 14, 15 people who owned, operated, or worked for the Owls Nest poker club in South Baltimore, which was raided by police Nov. 2 (“Fouled Nests,” Nov. 23; “On the List,” Mobtown Beat, Dec. 14), were charged in Baltimore City with gambling- and liquor-related crimes. Their trials are scheduled for Jan. 27. One of them, 51-year-old Joseph Anthony Cary—who told The Sun in a Dec. 17 article about the charges that he is an “investor” in the club and that he plans to open a strip club at the location—has another pending criminal case. In Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in Annapolis on Jan. 24, three days before his scheduled Owls Nest trial, Cary is on the docket for a jury trial on charges of assault and violating an out-of-state order.

The Anne Arundel County charges against Cary arise from two incidents that occurred in April of this year. On April 10, he was arrested and charged with assault in Atlantic City, N.J. The alleged victim—Cary’s wife, 54-year-old Deborah Sue Cary—obtained a restraining order barring him from any form of contact with her and from their home in Riviera Beach in Anne Arundel County.

According to a copy of the New Jersey order, Deborah Cary complained that Joseph Cary “struck her in the face with his open hand twice while they were engaged in a verbal dispute and poured [an] alcoholic beverage on her head.” The order states that Cary is “prohibited from future acts of domestic violence.” According to an Atlantic City court clerk, the assault charge against Joseph Cary was dismissed May 13.

The second incident prompted the Anne Arundel charges. According to the police statement, two officers arrived at the Carys’ home April 27 after a “911 hang up call.” There, they found Joseph Cary, who “appeared to be intoxicated,” and Deborah Cary, who had a bump on her forehead, scratches on her face, a lacerated lip, and blood on her shirt and lip.

“Mrs. Cary advised that she was sleeping when Mr. Cary returned home and woke her up,” the statement reads. “Once she was awake, she advised that Mr. Cary punched her in the face several times.” She told the police that “she passed out and when she regained consciousness Mr. Cary struck her about the face several more times.” The officers arrested Cary and charged him with assault and violating the New Jersey restraining order. He spent nine days locked up until he posted $25,000 bail.

On Sept. 8, when the case came to trial, Joseph Cary was found guilty of assault and given a five-year sentence, with all but nine days suspended (as credit for time served), and probation for one year. Prosecutors tabled the charge for violating the out-of-state order. After Cary appealed the case to Circuit Court, though, the out-of-state-order charge was reinstated Dec. 6 and is now part of the case scheduled for jury trial Jan. 24.

Cary did not respond to messages left on his cell phone seeking comment for this article. City Paper previously reported that Cary “has had criminal charges filed against him at least once in nearly every year since 1978. . . . He often avoided convictions when prosecutors declined to bring cases to trial, but there are a few guilty findings—for battery, assault, resisting arrest, malicious destruction of property, and failure to appear at court, for instance.”

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