A prosecutor and a Towson lawyer, both veterans at their jobs, will be sworn in as Baltimore County Circuit judges before the end of the year.
S. Ann Brobst, an assistant state's attorney for the county since 1979, and John J. Nagle III, a longtime partner in a Towson law firm, will replace two retiring judges on the bench, Gov. Martin O'Malley's office announced Wednesday.
"Ann Brobst has been an outstanding prosecutor, helping to protect her neighbors in Baltimore County," O'Malley said in a statement issued by his office. "John Nagle is a pillar of the Baltimore County bar and will be an excellent addition to the bench."
Brobst, 56, described the promotion as "wonderful" and said she was "really grateful and humbled by the opportunity the governor has given me." Brobst, whose telephone conversation was interrupted by a colleague making plans for a celebratory party, said that, once in her judicial robes, she would try to show kindness.
"I've worked in this courthouse for 30 years and, except for Adoption Day, no one is happy to be here," she said. "They're here only because something bad happened. It's the least we can do to be courteous, respectful and prompt."
Brobst has prosecuted high-profile cases such as that of Nicholas W. Browning, a Cockeysville teenager who was indicted in the 2008 shooting deaths of his father, mother and two brothers. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four life terms.
Brobst is also known for having twice gained convictions against Kirk N. Bloodsworth, who served more than eight years in prison, including several on death row, for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. Post-conviction DNA tests exonerated him in 1993 and led police to the killer, who is serving life in prison.
Now that he is headed to the bench, Nagle will have to resign as president of Bodie, Nagle, Dolina, Smith & Hobbs, where he specializes in mass tort litigation and has expertise in business and commercial law, trusts and estates, and bankruptcy law. Becoming a judge, he said, has "always been in the back of my mind."
Nagle, who turns 55 this month, acknowledged that there are some subjects he will "have to get up to speed on," such as criminal law, which he practiced only briefly. A past president of the Baltimore County Bar Association, Nagle was named one of Maryland's top lawyers in 2007 and 2008 by Baltimore magazine.
Nagle said he was enjoying the reaction of friends and colleagues to his appointment, especially the fact that he was already being addressed as "Your Honor."
Brobst will fill Judge John O. Hennegan's seat on the bench, and Nagle will move into the spot occupied by Judge Lawrence R. Daniels. Although retired, both Hennegan and Daniels still serve occasionally as trial judges.