Eight people have applied to fill the Harford County Circuit judge seat being vacated by Judge William O. Carr’s retirement May 1 and they will be interviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission next month.
This is the third judge for which the commission will make recommendations to the governor since the members were appointed June 16, 2015.
Judge Kevin Mahoney was appointed Dec. 1, 2015 to replace the retiring Judge Stephen Waldron and Paul Ishak was appointed Dec. 7, 2016 to fill the new sixth seat on Harford’s bench.
“There’s been a lot of turnover with the court. I think it’s going to be pretty stable after this,” Tim Braue, chair of the Harford Judicial Nominating Commission, said.
The eight lawyers who will be interviewed by the 13 commission members June 15 are Alison Marie Healey, a Harford assistant state’s attorney in the domestic violence unit; Lawrence Francis Kreis Jr., of the Attorney General’s office in Baltimore; Robert Scott McCord, a former Harford County attorney, who is the Maryland Department of Planning Assistant Secretary; Joel Cabatingan Muneses, a Harford assistant state’s attorney; Howard Wayne Norman Jr., a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, who has a private practice in Bel Air; Gavin Malachi Patashnick, who works in the juvenile justice division of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; and Carl Ridgeley Schlaich and Katherine Kole Thompson, who are partners in the Bel Air law firm of Schlaich and Thompson.
Three of the applicants – Kreis, Schlaich and Thompson – are new, Braue said.
The finalists from the last two sets of recommendations to the governor will also be among those the governor considers in making his appointment. They include David E. Carey, a District Court judge; Bel Air-based attorney Anthony J. DiPaula; Kerwin Anthony Miller, a former Cecil County deputy state’s attorney; Diane Adkins Tobin, a Harford County deputy state’s attorney; and Martin E. Wolf, a Towson-based attorney, who lives in Forest Hill.
Under rules established by the courts and the governor, any finalist for a judgeship, who isn’t selected, is automatically considered for the next vacancy, if it occurs within two years of the preceding appointment.
Each applicant will be interviewed for about an hour.
“We want to give each person their opportunity, and it’s really important that we get to know each candidate,” Braue said.
After commission members interview the eight candidates on June 15, they will discuss the interviews and then vote on whom to recommend to the governor, Braue said. An applicant must receive a majority vote to be recommended.
The governor asks that the commission recommends three applicants, and that’s what they strive to do, Braue said. If the members can’t choose three, they will send down those they have, and if they have more than three who are qualified, they’ll send all their names to the governor. The commission will submit its recommendations to the governor the same day.
Ishak sworn in as sixth Harford Circuit Court judge
In addition to Braue, commission members are Cassandra R. Beverley, Rebecca A. Fleming, Mary Teresa Garland, Cornelius Helfrich, Charles E. Kearney Jr., Robert S. Lynch, Max Dunham Miller Jr., Diane L. Sengstacke, James D. Thornton, Kimberly L. Wagner, Nancy M. Walls and Albert J.A. Young.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will accept signed, written comments regarding any of the eight applicants for use in its evaluation process. Comments must be received by Friday, June 9.
Mail comments to Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission for Commission District 4, c/o Administrative Office of the Courts, Human Resources Department, Maryland Judicial Center, 580 Taylor Ave., Building A, First Floor, Annapolis, MD 21401. Fax: 410-974-2849. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.