O'Malley appoints 8 Circuit Court judges

December 04, 2007|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,Sun reporter

Gov. Martin O'Malley appointed eight Circuit Court judges yesterday, including Angela M. Eaves, the first African-American and first woman to fill the post in Harford County.

Eaves, 48, a District Court judge for seven years, will replace retiring Circuit Judge Maurice W. Baldwin Jr.

"I do think I've made history and broken barriers, but that depends on a person's perspective," said Eaves, a former assistant attorney general and attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau of Harford County. "The bench should represent [the] population as a whole. And diversity ensures that justice is fair."

O'Malley also appointed to their respective jurisdictions' circuit courts: Howard County State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone; Anne Arundel District Judge Michael Wachs; Baltimore City District Judge Emanuel Brown; Prince George's County District Judges Crystal Mittelstaedt and Beverly Woodard; Nicholas Rattal, a public defender in Prince George's County; and attorney Broughton Miller Earnest in Talbot County.

All the appointees must run for election next year. Winners will serve 15-year terms and earn a starting salary of about $134,000.

O'Malley informed candidates of his choices last week but did not announce them until yesterday, the last day for candidates to file the paperwork to run for office.

State Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, the minority whip and a Howard County Republican, said that he had not received any complaints about O'Malley's choices, but said the governor should have made the decisions earlier.

"Had he done so, anyone who wished to challenge the appointee would have had an opportunity to file," he said. "Now it makes it very difficult to do that."

McCrone's appointment in Howard County means that the county's Circuit Court judges need to find a new chief prosecutor. McCrone, the former legal adviser to the Howard County Police Department, was re-elected last year.

Judge Lenore R. Gelfman said that once McCrone resigns as state's attorney, which must happen within 30 days, the Circuit Court judges will appoint an interim replacement and then call for applicants.

Their final choice will serve out the remainder of McCrone's term, which expires in 2010. Chief Administrative Court Judge Diane O. Leasure said yesterday that she has recused herself from the deliberations because she is seeking an appellate judgeship.

O'Malley will fill the District Court vacancies caused by his appointments, and his spokesman, Rick Abbruzzese, said the process is under way.

He also said that O'Malley plans to announce an appointment to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, this week. Unlike Circuit Court judges, who must run for election, appointees to the appellate courts and District Court are subject to state Senate confirmation.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Julie Bykowicz, Nicole Fuller, Mary Gail Hare and Madison Park contributed to this article.

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