Judge makes history

As black woman, Eaves is two firsts on Circuit Court

December 09, 2007|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Reporter

The newest judge to be appointed to the Circuit Court for Harford County is also its first woman and first African-American.

Angela M. Eaves, 48, a county resident for nearly 20 years who has served as District Court judge since 2000, said she believes diversity on the bench "ensures justice is fair."

She will replaceretiring Judge Maurice W. Baldwin Jr. and expects to be working in her new job by the end of the month. How long she sits on the bench depends on the outcome of Maryland's Feb. 12 primary. All the appointees must run for election.

Within days of receiving a phone call from the governor, Eaves was in Annapolis filing to run for the job.

"I plan to give the campaign all that I've got and count my blessings," she said. "I know I will have only a little time."

The election of judges is nonpartisan. Three challengers have filed for the same judgeship: Edward H. Andrews III and Charles F. Wagner, each of whom maintains a law office in Bel Air, and Steven J. Scheinin, a lawyer with an office in Aberdeen.

Stephen M. Waldron, an associate judge at Harford County Circuit Court, who also is president of the county's Bar Association, said two months is a short time to campaign.

"It is what it is," Waldron said. "It's a quick turnaround."

Eaves' appointment, among eight Circuit Court judgeships Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Monday, made history and broke barriers, she said.

"I am proud to bring a positive perspective to a professional administration," she said. "I already know my new colleagues from working with them and practicing law with them."

O'Malley informed candidates of his choices Nov. 30, but did not announce them until Monday, the last day for candidates to file the paperwork to run for office. The elected will serve 15-year terms and earn a starting salary of about $134,000.

Eaves, a former assistant attorney general and a one-time attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau of Harford County, earned her law degree from the University of Texas and also holds a master's degree in public administration.

"I have always been interested in the forces that have to do with the law and the role lawyers play," she said. "I have an overriding desire to help people."

She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges and the chairwoman of the Harford County Community Mediation Commission.

O'Malley has started the process to fill the District Court vacancies created by the appointments, said his spokesman, Rick Abbruzzese. Those appointments are subject to Senate confirmation, not election.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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