Gov. Martin O’Malley on Friday named Public Service Commission Chairman Douglas R. M. Nazarian to the Court of Special Appeals, and Commissioner Kevin Hughes to replace him as chairman of the PSC.
O’Malley also named seven other judges to lower courts late Friday.
Nazarian will succeed Judge James R. Eyler on the court, Maryland’s second-highest. Eyler retired in May.
“As leader of the Public Service Commission, Chairman Nazarian has demonstrated his ability to handle complex issues in a fair and thorough way,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I am confident that he has the intellect and organizational skills necessary to meet the needs of the Court of Special Appeals and to render well-reasoned decisions.”
Nazarian was the Public Service commission’s general counsel when O’Malley appointed him chairman in Aug. 2008. Prior to joining the commission in 2007, Nazarian was with Hogan & Hartson LLP for 12 years and served as the partner of charge of the firms’s pro bono practice in Baltimore.
He is a 1991 graduate of Duke University School of Law, after receiving an undergraduate degree from Yale College. After law school, Nazarian clerked for 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James B. Loken.
Hughes, Nazarian’s successor, has been a PSC commissioner since 2011. Earlier, he served as deputy legislative officer to O’Malley and Gov. Parris Glendening, and as principal analyst for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services and as legislative officer under Governor William Donald Schaefer. A 1994 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, he also holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Also on Friday evening, O’Malley appointed four judges to the Baltimore City Circuit Court, two District Court judges for Baltimore County and one District Court judge for Carroll County.
O’Malley appointed Philip Senan Jackson, Judge Christopher Louis Panos, Melissa Marie Phinn, and Julie Rebecca Rubin to Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Jackson has served for the past 19 years as an assistant United States attorney and, earlier, spent seven years as an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore County. He graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1984.
Panos has served on the District Court in Baltimore since 2006, when he was appointed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich. Earlier, he served as a special master for the Family Division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court and worked in private practice. He graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1989.
Phinn is a solo practitioner focusing in criminal defense and personal injury cases. Previously, she served as an assistant public defender for Baltimore City for nine years, as an associate at the Law Office of Stanley H. Needleman, and as a law clerk to then-Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Ellen L. Hollander. She graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1992.
Rubin is currently a complex business-litigation attorney with the Baltimore-based firm of Astrachan Gunst Thomas Rubin. She has served as the firm’s vice president since 2008 and has been a principal since 2005. She serves on the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities and the CollegeBound Foundation. She graduated from what is now the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 1998.
O’Malley also appointed Michael Thurston Pate and Kimberly Michelle Thomas to District Court for Baltimore County. Pate has been a solo practitioner since 2006. Pate previously worked as an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore County and as a litigation associate with Covahey, Boozer, Devan and Dore, P.A. He graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1991.
Thomas has been a solo practitioner for the past eight years, primarily focusing on criminal law. She has served on the Board of Review for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since 2008. Thomas also served for four years as an assistant public defender in Baltimore. She graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 2000 and the University of Baltimore in 1997.
O’Malley appointed Brian David Green to the District Court in Carroll County. Green has been with Office of the Public Defender for the past 23 years and began his legal career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Baltimore City. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 1987.
O’Malley chose Nazarian for the Court of Special Appeals from a list of five nominees submitted to him by the Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission. The other four were Andrew H. Baida, a partner at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore; Daniel A. Friedman, counsel to the General Assembly; Public Service Commission Chairman Douglas R.M. Nazarian; Denise O. Shaffer, executive administrative law judge and deputy director of quality assurance at the Office of Administrative Proceedings; and Martin E. Wolf, a partner at Gordon & Wolf Chtd. in Towson.