Nine apply for Maryland Court of Appeals

By Chris Mincher

Now that Judge Battaglia is preparing for her impending departure, change is occurring rapidly at the Court of Appeals. With Judge Hotten being appointed in December, Judge Watts joining the Court in 2013, and Judge McDonald donning the red robe in 2012, within a month’s time, a majority of the Court’s members will have been there for less than five years. Having gotten in applications before Thursday’s deadline, nine individuals are seeking to be next through the revolving door.

Of the bunch, we’ve already made note of three who are also currently nominated to the Court of Special Appeals. To recap those:

  • The Hon. Donald E. Beachley is a judge on the Washington County Circuit Court, having previously served as a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
  • Karen Louise Federman Henry is a former division chief at the Office of the County Attorney for Montgomery County. (Most importantly, however, she’s on our editorial board — but had no role in the review or publishing of this post.)
  • Thomas Edward Lynch III is a principal in the real-estate and environmental practice groups at Miles & Stockbridge.

As for the newcomers, The Hon. Kathryn Grill Graeff is the only sitting Court of Special Appeals judge in the mix. Two other applicants are current circuit-court judges, The Hon. Theresa Mary Adams of the Frederick County Circuit Court being a former prosecutor (an assistant state’s attorney in Washington County, Carroll County, and Frederick County) and The Hon. Richard Scott Bernhardt of the Howard County Circuit Court being a former public defender (in Baltimore and Howard counties).

Also up for the post is a top adviser to Gov. Hogan, former state Senate minority whip (and, prior to that, delegate representing Carroll County) Joseph Michael Getty. Getty is Gov. Hogan’s chief legislative officer, a position he also held in the Ehrlich Administration. Two other private practitioners have also applied, Steven Lee Tiedemann and Andrew David Levy, a partner at Brown Goldstein Levy and co-author of Appellate Practice for the Maryland Lawyer: State and Federal, and Maryland Evidence Courtroom Manual.

A couple rapid stats from information readily available on the Internet indicate that the group contains:

  • 7 graduates of Maryland Law, all but Thomas Lynch (Boston College) and Judge Adams (University of Baltimore);
  • 3 sitting circuit-court judges: Beachley, Adams, and Bernhardt;
  • 2 former state assistant attorneys general, Judge Graeff (chief of the criminal-appeals division) and Judge Bernhardt (serving the Maryland Insurance Administration); and
  • 2 former clerks on the Court of Special Appeals, Karen Louise Federman Henry (with Judge Bell) and Judge Adams (with Judge Wenner).

The Judicial Nominating Commission will have all the applicant interviews completed by its April 25 meeting, so the list of actual nominations should be released before May. In the meantime, the Commission is also getting together today to figure out who to nominate to the Fourth Appellate Judicial Circuit’s open spot on the Court of Special Appeals.

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