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With appointment of Dan Friedman, CSA will have full complement on bench. (Maximilian Franz / The Daily Record)

Friedman named as judge for CSA

Assembly’s top lawyer in one of 7 bench posts filled

Gov. Martin O’Malley has appointed the General Assembly’s top lawyer to the state’s second-highest court, one of seven judge positions he filled Tuesday.

Dan Friedman will join the Court of Special Appeals in an at-large seat. Friedman has served as an assistant attorney general and counsel to the General Assembly since 2008. Friedman takes the seat left vacant when Albert J. Matricciani Jr. stepped down from the bench April 30 to return to Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP in Baltimore as senior counsel. Friedman had been passed over by O’Malley for previous vacancies on the Court of Special Appeals.

With Friedman’s appointment, the intermediate appellate court will have its full complement of 15 active judges.

Friedman was in court Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Prior to joining the attorney general’s office, Friedman served as special counsel at Saul Ewing LLP as well as with the Baltimore City Law Department while O’Malley was mayor.

O’Malley also filled vacancies in two circuit courts that have only one sitting judge. Raymond G. Strubin and Stephen H. Kehoe also become the administrative judges in Garrett and Talbot counties, respectively.

“When you apply, you think about the courtroom, but that’s just part of it,” said Kehoe, a name partner with Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kehoe P.A. in Easton, who has been with the firm for 28 years.

Kehoe will replace Judge Broughton M. Earnest, who stepped down in November after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. Kehoe said Tuesday his investiture is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Kehoe had previously applied for the circuit court in 2007, when Earnest was appointed. Kehoe is the younger brother of Court of Special Appeals Judge Christopher B. Kehoe.

Strubin is an assistant public defender as well as the supervising attorney for the Office of the Public Defender in Garrett County. Strubin has been with the office for 18 years and said it will be an adjustment to no longer be an advocate.

“It’s great being the fly in the ointment as public defender,” he said.

Strubin replaces Judge James L. Sherbin, who retired in February. Strubin had twice previously applied to vacancies on the District Court of Maryland for Garrett County.

O’Malley also appointed Viki Marie Pauler to a vacancy on the bench in Washington County Circuit Court. She replaces Judge John H. McDowell, who retired in January after almost 21 years on the bench.

At the district court level, O’Malley named three judges for Prince George’s County. Clayton A. Aarons is a Largo solo practitioner who previously worked as both a prosecutor and public defender in the county. Brian C. Denton is the district public defender for the county after previously holding the same position for Anne Arundel County and Southern Maryland. Ann L. Wagner-Stewart is the county’s deputy state’s attorney and has spent 20 years as a prosecutor.