Howard County Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. underwent heart surgery yesterday at a Baltimore hospital and could be out of the courthouse recuperating for nearly three months, court officials said.
Kane, 61, was listed in critical but stable condition last night at Union Memorial Hospital after heart bypass surgery.
The usual recovery time for bypass surgery is eight to 12 weeks.
Kane entered Howard County General Hospital early Monday complaining of chest pains, and was transferred that afternoon to Union Memorial for tests.
He is the administrative judge for Howard County Circuit Court and helps run the administrative side of the Ellicott City courthouse.
Kane also rules on postponement requests in criminal cases and assigns time-consuming criminal cases to judges. Civil cases are assigned randomly.
Judge James B. Dudley has taken over as acting administrative judge.
Dudley said yesterday he and Howard County's three other circuit judges likely would cancel some vacation time to cover for Kane during his absence.
It is unclear what will happen to Kane's pending cases, including the long-running dispute surrounding the pending sale of a 300-acre Columbia farm to the county, which wants to turn the land into a regional park.
Kane was to decide soon on whether the case can proceed to trial.
Dudley said a decision on those cases would depend on the length of Kane's recuperation and whether the courthouse can get another judge.
Kane has been on the Howard County Circuit Court bench since 1982 and administrative judge since 1991. He won re-election in 1998.