Longtime attorney is named court master in chancery

July 19, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A veteran Annapolis trial lawyer best known for representing John Frederick Thanos was appointed yesterday as a master in chancery in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to preside over certain civil cases.

James D. McCarthy Jr., a former prosecutor, civil lawyer and an ** assistant public defender for 17 years, was selected yesterday by the county's nine Circuit judges.

McCarthy was chosen from a list of 41 lawyers who applied for the vacancy created July 9 when Nancy Davis-Loomis was appointed to the District Court bench, said Robert Wallace, court administrator.

McCarthy will become one of three county Circuit Court masters. They handle juvenile cases, uncontested divorces, child custody, annulments, adoptions and child support cases.

McCarthy, 58, of Severna Park said he was thrilled with the appointment.

"It's a big challenge," he said yesterday. "It'll be a totally different perspective."

Both Wallace and McCarthy said the salary has yet to be worked out. The county budget shows that salaries for Circuit Court masters range from $54,724 to $84,635.

McCarthy said he expects to be sworn in in about a month, but still has to work out details of his departure from the public defender's office with county public defender Alan R. Friedman, who was out of town this week.

Lawyers who have worked with McCarthy said yesterday he is a thorough trial lawyer. He was lead counsel for Thanos, who died in the gas chamber May 17, 1994, for killing three teen-agers during a 1990 crime spree.

"He knows the law inside out, not just the criminal law, but the civil law," said County Councilman William C. Mulford II, a former assistant state's attorney who prosecuted an arsonist and a murderer both represented by McCarthy.

McCarthy worked as an assistant state's attorney from 1969 to 1970 and joined the public defender's office in 1979. He had a private practice for 21 years until 1991, when the state began requiring public defenders to work full time.

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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