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O’Malley now has five names for vacancy on Court of Special Appeals

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O’Malley now has a list of five names from which to choose the successor to retired Court of Special Appeals Judge James R. Eyler.

The five are 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.

But only Shaffer and Wolf are new.

The Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission had submitted Friedman and Nazarian’s names to O’Malley in June. They joined Baida, whose name the commission had sent for the governor’s consideration last year for a prior vacancy on the intermediate appellate court.

O’Malley, however, ordered the Eyler vacancy to be readvertised, citing his 2007 executive order that the nominating panel “shall endeavor to recommend” at least three new candidates for each vacancy.

O’Malley is expected to choose Eyler’s successor from among the five names the commission submitted to him. Eyler, who offers mediation and arbitration services through Eyler Dispute Resolution, represented the 2nd Appellate Circuit, which covers Harford and Baltimore counties. He left the bench May 1.

The nominating commission submitted Shaffer and Wolf’s names to O’Malley on Monday but declined to send four other candidates for Eyler’s seat whose names were provided to the panel after the position was readvertised.

These candidates were Cathleen C. Brockmeyer, an assistant Maryland attorney general in the criminal appeals division; James K. MacAlister, of Saiontz & Kirk P.A. in Baltimore; Brian J. Murphy, a Baltimore solo practitioner; and Kimberly Smith Ward, a commissioner on the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Baida’s name had been submitted to O’Malley for the vacancy created when Judge Ellen L. Hollander joined the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. In December, O’Malley elevated then-Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Stuart R. Berger to succeed Hollander.

Though rejected for that seat, Baida’s name automatically remained on the governor’s list for any Court of Special Appeals vacancy arising within two years and for which he is qualified based on his residence.