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NEWS
November 7, 1996
ONCE AGAIN, Howard County's bench will become all-white. Voters Tuesday apparently rejected Gov. Parris Glendening's attempt to bring racial diversity to Howard's courts, ousting the first-ever African-American judge, Donna Hill Staton.Mr. Glendening's mistake a year ago may have been in misjudging Howard. The governor said he believed the county's growing diversity warranted greater balance in its judiciary. He, too, believed Howard had earned its reputation for racial harmony, a perception largely created by the late James W. Rouse, who sought tolerance as he built Columbia.
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NEWS
By Norris West | November 10, 1996
THE MORNING after losing a bid to retain her Howard Circuit Court seat, Judge Donna Hill Staton displayed true judicial temperament.Judge Hill Staton, as she still can be called for a few more days, did not gripe about the outcome. A day after her short stay on the bench came crashing down, she comforted herself with the satisfaction of owning an indelible place in history.She was, and always will be, the county's first African-American jurist.Judge Hill Staton did not rage against the obvious: that racial attitudes helped motivate a vicious campaign against her, and by association, against her running mate, Judge Diane O. Leasure.
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NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF | February 15, 1996
The Columbia Democratic Club put aside its boisterous history last night and quietly endorsed Howard County Circuit Judges Donna Hill Staton and Diane O. Leasure in the March 5 primary.In past years, fights for the club's endorsements have been spectacles of tears, anger and political intrigue. But last night's meeting was a snooze by any measure.There were no pyrotechnics in the speeches by the sitting judges or their three challengers -- no direct allusions to what has become the nastiest judges' race in the state.
NEWS
November 7, 1996
ONCE AGAIN, Howard County's bench will become all-white. Voters Tuesday apparently rejected Gov. Parris Glendening's attempt to bring racial diversity to Howard's courts, ousting the first-ever African-American judge, Donna Hill Staton.Mr. Glendening's mistake a year ago may have been in misjudging Howard. The governor said he believed the county's growing diversity warranted greater balance in its judiciary. He, too, believed Howard had earned its reputation for racial harmony, a perception largely created by the late James W. Rouse, who sought tolerance as he built Columbia.
NEWS
By Norris West | November 10, 1996
THE MORNING after losing a bid to retain her Howard Circuit Court seat, Judge Donna Hill Staton displayed true judicial temperament.Judge Hill Staton, as she still can be called for a few more days, did not gripe about the outcome. A day after her short stay on the bench came crashing down, she comforted herself with the satisfaction of owning an indelible place in history.She was, and always will be, the county's first African-American jurist.Judge Hill Staton did not rage against the obvious: that racial attitudes helped motivate a vicious campaign against her, and by association, against her running mate, Judge Diane O. Leasure.
NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Norris P. West contributed to this article | February 23, 1996
With less than two weeks of campaigning left until the March 5 primary, one question remains in Howard County's mean-spirited race for the Circuit Court bench: How low can it get?Innuendo, smears and surreptitious charges are staples of this campaign.Recent cheap shots include anonymous allegations that one of the five candidates cheated while in law school and that another failed the bar exam the first time around.Some of the low blows can be traced directly to supporters of the two major slates in the race.
NEWS
By Shanon D. Murray and Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF | February 21, 1996
The Ellicott City Democratic Club -- in a staid forum last night -- endorsed Howard County Circuit Judges Diane O. Leasure and Donna Hill Staton for the March 5 primary.Unlike some other forums during the campaign, this one lacked lively speeches from the sitting judges and their three challengers. Also, there was no rigorous question-and-answer session.The only drama of the evening was when Judge Hill Staton was not endorsed in the first round of voting.Of 22 ballots cast for each office in the first round, the candidates needed 12 votes for endorsement.
NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF | December 18, 1995
Howard County's two newest circuit judges say they plan to eschew politics as they campaign for election this spring."What we want people to understand is that we are the judges -- not just candidates seeking to become judges," Donna Hill Staton said of herself and Diane O. Leasure, who plan to file as candidates this week.The two outlined their apolitical strategy last week, as they prepared to meet what promises to be a vigorous attempt to unseat them by District Judge Lenore R. Gelfman, a Democrat, and Columbia attorney Jonathan Scott Smith, a Republican.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,SUN STAFF | December 11, 1995
It's 8 a.m., and few souls are stirring in the old, gray Howard County Circuit courthouse.Upstairs, Judge Donna Hill Staton is behind her desk in a medium-green skirt set, reading documents that will be part of proceedings on this, her first full day in court at the end of her first full week as a judge.Judge Hill Staton smiles when visitors enter her chambers. Before the day ends she'll smile a number of times -- in and out of court. She and fellow new jurist Diane O. Leasure quickly have gained a reputation among deputies and clerks as being two of the friendliest faces in the staid old courthouse.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,SUN STAFF | December 13, 1995
The first major event in Howard County's judicial campaign comes tonight when supporters of two challengers to the pair of new Circuit Court judges hold a fund-raiser at the Columbia Hilton.The $35-a-plate event at 6 p.m. will raise money for the campaigns of District Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman and attorney Jonathan Scott Smith. Calling themselves more experienced, they are challenging newly appointed Circuit Judges Diane O. Leasure and Donna Hill Staton.A group named the Committee to Elect the Best says it expects at least 350 people, including county officials, attorneys and business and community leaders, to attend.
NEWS
October 24, 1996
THIS NEWSPAPER has a long-standing policy of endorsing sitting judges in contested elections. This policy stems from our opposition to the concept of elected judgeships, which inappropriately inject politics into a system of choosing impartial arbiters of the law. We continue to recommend an appointed merit system for Circuit Courts.Even if we did not have this policy, however, we would endorse Howard County Circuit Judges Donna Hill Staton and Diane O. Leasure. They have performed admirably since being appointed to the bench last year by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
NEWS
By Shanon D. Murray and Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF | October 23, 1996
Two statewide organizations endorsed sitting Circuit Judges Donna Hill Staton and Diane O. Leasure yesterday in their bids to retain their seats in the Nov. 5 judicial election.Members of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Maryland chapter of Women Veterans of America said they chose the sitting judges over their challengers -- District Judge Lenore R. Gelfman and Jonathan Scott Smith -- because of their judicial temperament and experience.The state bar group's announcement was actually a "reinforcement" of its earlier endorsement of Hill Staton and Leasure in last spring's primary and its opposition to contested judicial elections, said spokeswoman Janet Eveleth.
NEWS
October 20, 1996
IF MARYLAND voters needed proof that subjecting sitting judges to contested elections is a bad idea, they should sample the strident rhetoric and hard-ball tactics of the judicial campaign now going on in Howard County. Not only do two sitting judges find themselves in the demeaning position of trying to dispense impartial justice while waging an expensive campaign, the county's residents also face the prospect -- regardless of who wins -- of standing before judges they campaigned against.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Shanon D. Murray and Caitlin Francke and Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF | October 4, 1996
As their electoral opponents talk increasingly about the rise of violent crime in Howard County, Circuit Court Judges Diane O. Leasure and Donna Hill Staton used a news conference yesterday to explain why they can't."
NEWS
By Norris P. West and James M. Coram and Norris P. West and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Shanon D. Murray contributed to this article | March 6, 1996
The bitter primary battle for two Howard County Circuit Court judgeships ended last night with the strong prospect of another round of campaign hostilities this fall.Both major slates of candidates -- one made up of two sitting judges appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening last fall and the other composed of their two leading challengers -- survived the primary to run again in the November general election.Turnout was low, with only 31 percent of registered voters going to the polls.With 83 of 85 precincts reporting last night -- all but absentee ballots -- the two sitting circuit judges, Diane O. Leasure and Donna Hill Staton, took the county's Democratic primary.
NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF | March 1, 1996
The five candidates running for Howard County circuit judge in Tuesday's primary looked weary and drawn yesterday, but had enough energy left to hurl a few more barbs in what already is the nastiest political race in the state.Leading the charge was Columbia lawyer Jonathan Scott Smith.He told a standing-room audience of 102 at a League of Women Voters forum in Ellicott City last night that the judicial selection process "failed" last fall when Gov. Parris N. Glendening appointed Diane O. Leasure as the first female judge on Howard's Circuit Court and Donna Hill Staton as its first African-American.
NEWS
October 20, 1996
IF MARYLAND voters needed proof that subjecting sitting judges to contested elections is a bad idea, they should sample the strident rhetoric and hard-ball tactics of the judicial campaign now going on in Howard County. Not only do two sitting judges find themselves in the demeaning position of trying to dispense impartial justice while waging an expensive campaign, the county's residents also face the prospect -- regardless of who wins -- of standing before judges they campaigned against.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and James M. Coram and Norris P. West and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Shanon D. Murray contributed to this article | March 6, 1996
The bitter primary battle for two Howard County Circuit Court judgeships ended last night with the strong prospect of another round of campaign hostilities this fall.Both major slates of candidates -- one made up of two sitting judges appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening last fall and the other composed of their two leading challengers -- survived the primary to run again in the November general election.Turnout was low, with only 31 percent of registered voters going to the polls.With 83 of 85 precincts reporting last night -- all but absentee ballots -- the two sitting circuit judges, Diane O. Leasure and Donna Hill Staton, took the county's Democratic primary.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Shanon D. Murray and Norris P. West and Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF | February 29, 1996
Call it affirmative action strikes back.Beset by assertions that they owe their jobs to preferential treatment, the county's first female circuit judge and first black judge charge in a mailing this week to all of the county's women voters that two of their challengers would "turn back the clock."The charges of preferential treatment surfaced in November shortly after Diane O. Leasure was appointed Howard's first female circuit judge and Donna Hill Staton was named its first black jurist.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,SUN STAFF | February 28, 1996
A challenger for the Howard Circuit Court bench angered two incumbent judges at a Republican women's luncheon yesterday when he implied that they are not handling their share of the court's criminal cases.Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith said that he reviewed amonth of the Circuit Court's criminal docket and that he found that Judge Donna Hill Staton is named as the judge in only 8 percent of criminal cases while Judge Diane O. Leasure is listed for 10 percent. The court has five judges.Judges Hill Staton and Leasure were appointed to the bench in October by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and have served since November.
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