Howard Co. prosecutor achieves her longtime goal

Hartman is sworn in, as District Court judge

January 03, 2003|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Veteran prosecutor Sue-Ellen Hantman was sworn in as Howard County's fifth District Court judge yesterday during a ceremony filled with tributes to a woman whom speakers hailed as a worker bee who has long been committed to community building - and who never gave up on her dream of becoming a judge.

Thirteen years after she first applied for a District Court judgeship, Hantman, 57, was tapped last month - as one of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's last three judicial appointees - to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge C. James "Kit" Sfekas in June.

"I have to tell you. Perseverance pays. Dreams do come true," she told a crowd of about 200 friends, family and colleagues who gathered in the George Howard Building yesterday afternoon.

More than a half-dozen speakers - including Hantman's son, David, a lawyer on Capitol Hill - spoke of a woman they said is known for her hard work, her dedication to understanding her community and her drive to become, first, an elected official and, later, a judge.

"She's continued for years and years now to consistently contribute all she has to offer to all the ideals she holds dearly," said state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Columbia Democrat who bested Hantman in a primary race for a state delegate seat in 1982. "She deserves this."

Speakers also noted the significance of yesterday's swearing-in: Hantman's arrival on the Howard District Court bench creates a judicial first in Maryland - more women than men on a state bench with more than one judge. "Today, for the first time in the history of this state ... she'll cause the scales to tip in the other direction," said Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones, the administrative judge for District 10.

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