After a career spanning three decades, Frederick County Assistant State’s Attorney Lindell K. Angel stepped down Wednesday from her role as one of the agency’s seven division chiefs.
“I’m tired,” Angel said, smiling as she discussed her decision to retire on Wednesday. “People have been asking me my whole career, ‘How can you do this stuff? How can you do this kind of work?’ And I’ve always been able to say I can do it, but now I just think I’m ready to move on.”
With plans to begin working as a District Court commissioner based at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center within two weeks, Angel isn’t giving herself much of a break. In her new role, Angel will review paperwork submitted by police for criminal charges and have the first say over whether defendants in criminal cases should be released on bail, among other responsibilities.
Angel will make about $54,000 a year as a commissioner while dealing with significantly less stress than she did as a lead prosecutor.
“And I’m taking my pension, too, so I’m actually getting a raise for doing something a lot less stressful,” Angel added with a laugh. “So I’m ready to hang up my prosecutor’s hat.”
Having most recently served as chief of the Family Violence Division, Angel spent most of her career handling highly sensitive cases, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and similar crimes involving particularly young victims. While one could hardly be blamed for wanting a break from such disturbing, emotionally draining work, Angel said she never regretted her choice to specialize in that area of law, saying that other specialties never held the same appeal for her.
In particular, Angel found herself motivated by her work in the state’s attorney’s office’s Child Abuse Unit, which felt far more personal to her than arguing economic crimes or even combing through the challenging laws that felony drug prosecutors grapple with.
“The kids’ faces, being able to work with them and recognize their trauma and recognize what they’re going through where other people might not ... it was something that you could be passionate about more so than, like, white-collar crime,” Angel said. “It was very emotional, but very rewarding afterwards when you’re successful, making a difference in their healing process.”
While her work as a commissioner will be vastly different from her role as a prosecutor, Angel said she feels like she is returning to her roots. John Barber, a former commissioner, was the first person to encourage her to apply for a job as a District Court clerk at the beginning of her career after recognizing her from an internship she completed in high school at the state’s attorney’s office.
In any event, Angel’s contacts in the Frederick police, the county sheriff’s office and other county law enforcement likely won’t be bored.
“I’m the low person on the totem pole, so I’m going to be working nights, from 10 [p.m.] to 8 [a.m.], but all the detectives are telling me they’re going to wait and bring their warrants in while I’m working,” Angel said, laughing.
Replacing Angel will be a challenge for the prosecutor’s office. State’s Attorney Charlie Smith called her “one of the most accomplished family violence prosecutors in the state” in a statement included in an agency press release announcing Angel’s retirement. Smith went on to praise Angel for her professional work ethic, as well as the passion she brought to the office.
“She leaves a legacy of knowledge, passion and tenacity, and has set the bar for prosecutors to come,” Smith’s statement reads in part. “The office will surely miss her friendship, experience, and knowledge.”
Meanwhile, Angel said she is confident the Family Violence Division will be in good hands with her second-in-command, Assistant State’s Attorney Tammy Leache, who was tapped to fill her role.
“She tries more cases than anybody in this department and she definitely has the passion for these cases,” Angel said. “... She’s the only choice.”