1st black judge named to Balto. Co. circuit seat District Court, Court of Special Appeals openings also filled

June 02, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday appointed the first African-American judge to the Baltimore County Circuit Court, naming District Court Judge Alexander Wright to the new seat.

Wright, 48, has served on the county's lower court for five years and previously worked for the state attorney general's office representing several state agencies.

Also yesterday, Glendening named lawyer Robert Steinberg, 48, to a new Baltimore County District Court seat and Wicomico County Circuit Judge Sally D. Adkins to the Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate-level appellate court.

The two Baltimore County judgeships were created by the 1997 General Assembly.

Wright, a 1974 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, said yesterday he began applying for a judgeship 18 years ago when he realized there weren't any African-American judges in Baltimore County.

"I've always felt that it was important for all aspects of society to be involved in the justice system, and that's why when I saw the lack of minorities being involved in Baltimore County, I felt it was something I would want to do and committed myself to this," he said.

In 1993, he became the second black appointed to the county's District Court.

Yesterday, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell described Wright as "fair and thorough, and always striving to do the right thing. Everybody goes away feeling he's had their day in court."

Bell, who has known Wright for 20 years, described him as someone who "never gives up and that's become his hallmark in his effort to become a judge."

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Lawrence R. Daniels, president of the Baltimore County Bar Association, said yesterday that Wright is "universally regarded as a very dedicated, hard-working and gifted jurist."

Adkins, also 48, will fill the vacancy left by Judge Dale Cathell's elevation to the Court of Appeals in January.

The 1975 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law became the first woman to serve as a circuit judge on the Eastern Shore when she was named to the bench by Glendening in 1996.

Steinberg is a partner from the Towson law firm of Wartzman, Omansky, Blibaum, Simons, Steinberg, Sachs & Sagal, where he specializes in criminal defense, personal injury, domestic violence litigation, housing court and commercial law.

He is a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and began his legal career as an assistant state's attorney for Baltimore City.

Pub Date: 6/02/98

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