All approved for seats on benches JUDGES

November 07, 1990|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The only Maryland judicial races where voters had a choice occurred on the appellate level. All Circuit Court judges were unopposed in the yesterday's election.

Voters in Baltimore and Harford counties decided to retain the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Robert C. Murphy, while those in the southern Eastern Shore voted to keep in office Court of Special Appeals Judge Dale R. Cathell. Court of Special Appeals Judge Robert F. Fischer, running statewide as an at-large judge, also won voter approval in the so-called retention election.

A state constitutional amendment in the mid-1970s changed the electoral process for appellate judges from one where judges ran against other candidates to one where voters vote for or against retaining them in office. Appellate court judges, appointed by the governor, serve 10-year terms.

A potential contested election in Baltimore for Circuit Court between District Court Judge Paul A. Smith and three incumbent judges ended shortly after the Sept. 11 primary when Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed Smith to fill a vacancy on the city Circuit Court bench.

Smith won in the Democratic primary, beating out Circuit Court Judge John C. Themelis, to advance to the general election. Themelis beat Smith in the Republican primary. Circuit Court Judges Ellen L. Hollander and Richard T. Rombro won both primaries.

The appointment of Smith to the Circuit Court left a vacancy on the Democratic slate for the general election. The Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee voted to fill the vacancy with Themelis. Thus, Hollander, Rombro and Themelis ran unopposed in on both party slates.

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