Nine county residents are vying to fill a judge's seat at the county Circuit Court after Administrative Circuit Court Judge J. Thomas Nissel retires Dec. 31.
Nissel, a 10-year veteran of the bench, announced Oct. 2 that he would retire at the end of the year. Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. has been appointed administrative judge of the Circuit Court in his place.
On Friday, the Judicial Selections Committee of the Howard County Bar Association interviewed all nine candidates for the position. The committee will make recommendations on the applicants during a general meeting Friday, after which the general bar membership will vote by secret ballot on who to endorse.
On Nov. 19, the county's Judicial Nominating Commission, made up of county residents and attorneys, will interview candidates and send its recommendations to the governor, probably the following day. The governor makes the appointment to the bench, using the list provided by the nominating commission.
Candidates said they did not know how much weight the bar association's recommendation will hold with the nominating commission.
The candidates seeking the Circuit Court judgeship are: * Neil E. Axel, a attorney in private practice for the past 16 years, with his own practice in Rockville. Axel, a Columbia resident, applied for a judgeship once before on the county's District Court.
* Dario J. Broccolino, the state's attorney coordinator who develops training programs for all state's attorneys. He worked as a prosecutor in Baltimore City for 16 years before taking his current job three years ago.
Broccolino, an Ellicott City resident, was a finalist for a District Court judgeship last year.
* Lenore R. Gelfman, a former private practice attorney at the firm of Gelfman and Gelfman in Columbia. He was appointed to the District Court bench in the fall on 1989. The Columbia resident is the only woman on the bench in Howard County.
* Cecelia Januszkiewicz, an assistant attorney general with the attorney general's office in Baltimore. She serves as the principal counsel to the state's Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning. Januszkiewicz, a resident of Columbia, worked as a private practice attorney for 12 years before going to the Attorney General's office in 1988.
* Lewis S. Nippard, a practicing attorney in the county for the past 34 years. He worked for the county's commissioners (before the county adopted a charter form of government) as their civil attorney for four years in the 1960s. During this time he played an important role in the development of the new town of Columbia. From 1970 to 1980, the Ellicott City resident also served as local counsel to the Rouse Co.
* Bernard A. Raum, a Circuit Court master of chancery, who hears domestic cases, such as child custody and visitation cases, at the county Circuit Court. One of two masters in the county, Raum is a court appointee.
The former prosecutor has applied for District Court judgeships in the past.
* Gerald M. Richman, an Ellicott City resident and a senior partner with the Columbia law firm of Levan, Schimel, Richman, Belman, Abramson and Scanlan.
* Dennis M. Sweeney, one of two deputy attorneys general in the state, who reports directly to Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. The resident of Ellicott City oversees the office's civil and criminal investigations divisions, Medicaid fraud division and assistant attorneys general working for several state departments. Sweeney applied once before for a Circuit Court judgeship, in 1988.
* Louis P. Willemin, a county public defender for the past three years.
Willemin, a Columbia resident, worked in the appellate division of the state's Public Defender's Office for seven years before taking the job in the county.