Gov. Parris N. Glendening, given the opportunity to reshape the state's second-highest court with three appointments at once, named his staff legal counsel to one of the vacancies and two Circuit Court judges to the others.
The governor appointed Mary Ellen Barbera, his top legal adviser since 1999, to an at-large seat on the Court of Special Appeals. It is the first judicial appointment for the 50-year-old appellate lawyer.
Glendening also named Judge Clayton Greene Jr. of Anne Arundel County and Judge J. Frederick Sharer of Allegany County to seats representing their regions.
All three had been recommended by judicial nominating panels.
Glendening praised the three for "outstanding legal credentials" and said they will be part of "the most diverse Court of Special Appeals in Maryland history."
With Greene's appointment, the 13-member court will have two African-American members. The choice of Barbera will bring the number of women on the court to four.
The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. The judges would then go on the ballot next year in an uncontested election to serve 10-year terms.
Barbera, an Ellicott City resident, is a former deputy chief of the criminal appeals division of the state Attorney General's Office.
Greene, 50, has served on the Anne Arundel Circuit Court since being named by Glendening in 1995. Since 1996, he has been the administrative judge. The Severna Park resident previously spent seven years on the county's District Court.
Sharer, 63, has served on Allegany County's Circuit Court since his 1980 appointment by Gov. Harry R. Hughes. Before that, he was the city solicitor in Cumberland for 14 years.
The Court of Special Appeals is the first level of appellate review for civil and criminal cases decided in the state's circuit courts.