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Arlington's Top Prosecutor To Retire

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Richard Trodden, the elected prosector for Arlington, reflects on the ups and downs of two decades on the job.
Michael Pope
Richard Trodden, the elected prosector for Arlington, reflects on the ups and downs of two decades on the job.

In Virginia, longtime Arlington commonwealth's attorney Richard Trodden is preparing to step down when his successor is sworn in next month. Since 1992, Richard Trodden has been prosecuting pickpockets, rapists and murderers, and has many stories to tell from his 20 years on the job.

"Well the funny thing about being a trial lawyer is when you have a case, you live and breathe it and you just cram all kinds of facts and theories and cases in your brain," says Trodden. "And you try the heck out of the case and then you just discharge it."

But for Arlington's elected prosecutor, that's not always the case.

"There are some cases where you know victims were badly hurt. And some of those stay with you. Fortunately not too many, but some will stay with you for a long time."

Trodden says several have stuck with him. One is the gruesome case of an elderly woman who was beaten to death with a hammer by a man Fidel Castro released from a Cuban prison. Another was the comic caper he likes to call the Big Mac Attack, involving four men who robbed a McDonald's, a case in which nobody was hurt and all four men required a separate trial. And then there's the case that Trodden will forever be linked with -- prosecuting sportscaster Marv Albert for sexual assault.

"There were guys dressed up in negligees and French waitress outfits out on the platform in front of the courthouse and TV cameras."

The media circus was unlike anything he had ever experienced, and people still ask him about the case today. But Trodden says the legal case was pretty straightforward.

"The funny thing I always remark about is that we had a homicide case going on at the same time, and that got almost no attention. But when you combine sex with celebrity, you get this kind of show."

For Trodden, the show is almost over. A native of Arlington, Trodden is planning on moving to Charlottesville to begin his new life in retirement.

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