From: Jonathan Scott Smith
Recently, another candidate filed to run against Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney. Most Howard County citizens probably are unaware of the judicial selection process by which Judge Sweeney became appointed to the Circuit Court for Howard County.
As an attorney whohas been a member of the Howard County Judicial Nominating Commission for some time, I have been involved in the selection of judicial candidates for numerous county judicial positions.
An executive order of the governor created judicial nominating commissions in each county. Each commission is comprised of six lawyers elected by the county's lawyers, and six local citizens and a chairman appointed by the governor. The commission is charged with the responsibility of supplying a list of qualified judicial candidates to the governor. The governor must appoint a judge solely from the candidates on that list. Thejudicial selection process entails the following:
1. Judicial vacancies. When a judicial position becomes vacant, or a new position iscreated by the Maryland General Assembly, the opening is advertised.Any county lawyer is invited to apply.
2. Application. All candidates must complete a detailed application. This includes extensive information on the applicant's personal background, education, employment, and professional experience as an attorney.
3. Investigation. Many commissioners undertake confidential inquiries regarding the applicant's qualifications. Information is solicited from judges, lawyers, courthouse employees, supervisors and co-workers. The commission also receives input from bar associations, including the Maryland State Bar Association, Howard County Bar Association, Women's Bar Association, and the Waring-Mitchell Law Society (a local minority bar association).
4. Interviews. The judicial nominating commission meets and interviews all applicants.
5. Deliberations. After accumulatingall information, the commission then meets in closed session to discuss the candidates. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast.
6. Candidate list. The names of the successful candidates are placed on a list and sent to the governor.
7. Appointment. The candidate appointed by the governor becomes the "sitting judge." For Circuit Court positions, the sitting judge must then run in the next general election to retain the postion. Any lawyer may file against the sitting judge. Whoever wins the election becomes the Circuit Court judge for a 15-year term.
This thorough and rigorous judicial selection process ensures appointment of the most qualified judges, with the least political influence possible.
It is important to understand that Judge Dennis M. Sweeney became a sitting Circuit Court judgeonly after intense scrutiny of his experience, qualifications and temperament, and appointment by the governor.
Those candidates who have filed against Judge Sweeney, for whatever reasons, chose not to have their experience, qualifications, and temperament scrutinized by their peers, the Howard County Judicial Nominating Commission, and the gubernatorial appointment process.
Judge Sweeney has been a Circuit Court judge for some time. I have appeared before him on numerousoccasions, for civil and criminal hearings and trials. He is bright,prepared, conscientious, efficient and, above all, fair.
Judge Dennis M. Sweeney deserves re-election to the Circuit Court. Howard County is fortunate to have him.
From: Timothy McCoy
I read with dismay last Sunday's Howard County Sun article by Jackie Powder ("Ellicott City condos struggle to survive the recession") regarding the plight of the Greystone Condominiums in Ellicott City.
Robert Boggs, Annapolis developer of the project, blames the failure of his project solely on a "poor real estatemarket and the recession."
I've heard this sob story before from out-of-county builders/developers who come into Howard County expecting to make a fortune without doing the proper market research.
As a Realtor in Howard County I was invited, last spring, to meet the developers and take a tour of the Greystone project. At that time, the condos were priced form $173,000 to $355,000.
For this price, there was limited parking, no swimming pool, no exercise area and no manned security desk. These are just some of the amenities you would expect in a condo selling for this price in Howard County.
What Boggs and his partner had was an old elementary school converted into partially completed condos. The building sits at the top of a narrow winding road and is surrounded by older homes in the $100,000 range.
AsI talked with the Annapolis sales agent in an effort to understand the pricing, she kept informing me that Ellicott City was just like Annapolis and these condos would sell fast. I wondered to myself if they had plans to move the Chesapeake Bay to Oella!