Wachs gets seat on Circuit Court

County district judge fills post vacated by retiring jurist Manck

December 05, 2007|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,SUN REPORTER

Anne Arundel County District Judge J. Michael Wachs was appointed this week by Gov. Martin O'Malley to serve on the county Circuit Court bench, filling the vacancy created this year by the retirement of Judge Joseph P. Manck.

"In this case, the governor hit a home run," said Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford II. "Mike brings a lot of experience to the job, both public and private. He's from the community. He went to Annapolis High School. He lives in Severna Park. He's just going to be fantastic."

Wachs, 45, was a public defender for about four years before leaving in 1991 to form a private practice, in which he handled a mix of high-profile criminal defense cases and domestic matters. He closed the practice in 1998 to become a master in chancery for the Circuit Court.

He was appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening to the Anne Arundel County District Court bench in November 2000, where he has heard criminal and civil cases, landlord-tenant disputes and family-related issues.

Wachs has served on the Attorney Grievance Commission inquiry panel and was president of the Anne Arundel Bar Association in 2001. He oversees the Schools in the Court program, which allows county high school students to observe court sessions as a crime deterrent. For the past eight months, he's also been in charge of the Drug Treatment Court program.

"Being able to receive the appointment for the circuit court, I was honored, and [am] looking forward to new challenges and being able to work there as soon as possible," Wachs said.

He and the seven other circuit judges appointed on Monday must run for election next year. Winners will serve 15-year terms and earn a starting salary of about $134,000.

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