ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland appellate court has ruled people can seek damages over the improper use of personal records by an elected official.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued the ruling Friday in a court case involving former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland alleged Leopold abused his position to collect personal information from the county police department about perceived political opponents without legitimate law enforcement purposes.

The court also ruled Leopold could not avoid liability by asserting immunity as a public official.

Leopold resigned in 2013 within days of being found guilty of misconduct in office. The charges related to Leopold using members of his security detail to perform political activities while they were on the job.

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