Fifteen vie for District judge

Diverse group competes to succeed Sfekas

Four had been recommended

Fewer applied this time than for earlier vacancy

August 15, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A Howard County judicial vacancy created by the recent death of District Judge C. James Sfekas has drawn 15 applicants - including a pool of four lawyers recommended to the governor earlier this year.

The list, which was released late yesterday afternoon, includes many lawyers who applied for an earlier vacancy filled this spring by Pamila J. Brown - and three new names.

But 10 lawyers opted not to reapply.

Robert W. Guth, the immediate past president of the Howard County Bar Association, speculated yesterday that some attorneys who did not make the list of finalists for Brown's job might have worried that they did not have time to improve their applications. They also might have decided that the pool of four - whose names are automatically forwarded to the governor - will hurt their chances for an appointment, he said.

FOR THE RECORD - In an article about judicial applicants for a District judgeship that appeared in Thursday's Howard County edition of The Sun, applicant Mary J. Pizzo was incorrectly identified as a private-practice attorney. Pizzo works in the appellate division of the state Office of the Public Defender.
The Sun regrets the error

The pool includes one black man and three white women: Wayne A. Brooks, a state administrative law judge for more than seven years; Mary V. Murphy, an assistant state's attorney who joined the Howard state's attorney's office a decade ago; Elaine Patrick, a Howard County master who deals with child support and paternity cases; and Deborah L. Robinson, a private practice attorney with Robinson Woolson P.A., a Baltimore firm.

The application process has also been quieter this time.

"I think it's quiet, one, because of the way the vacancy opened up. Who wants to talk about taking over for Judge Sfekas?" Guth said. "And there is probably a degree of resignation given the short time frame. Why wouldn't you expect one of the people on the short list to get it?"

It was unclear yesterday when Gov. Parris N. Glendening might appoint Sfekas' replacement. The judicial nominating commission, which is charged with recommending applicants to the governor, is scheduled to meet Sept. 23.

In addition to the four pool applicants, the list includes three attorneys who work in the public sector - Richard S. Bernhardt, an assistant attorney general who previously worked as a Howard public defender; Sue Ellen Hantman, an assistant state's attorney assigned to Columbia's HotSpot communities; and F. Todd Taylor, a private practice attorney who also does work for the Howard County solicitor's office.

The rest of the attorneys vying for the position are in private practice. They include James F. Brewer, Charles J. Broida; Pamela R. Johnson, Robert N. Keehner, Mary J. Pizzo, Mary C. Reese, James C. Strouse and William V. Tucker.

Brewer, Pizzo and Strouse are the only three applicants who did not apply for the job that Brown was selected.

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