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27 apply for at-large Court of Special Appeals seat

Twenty-seven attorneys or lower-court judges have applied for the Maryland Court of Special Appeals seat left vacant last month when Judge Robert A. Zarnoch reached the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

The attorneys who have applied include Andrew H. Baida, of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore; Gardner M. Duvall, of Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP in Baltimore; Maury S. Epner, of Selzer Gurvitch Rabin Wertheimer Polott & Obecny P.C. in Bethesda; Karen Louise Federman Henry, of the Office of the Montgomery County Attorney; former Maryland Public Defender Nancy S. Forster; Deputy Maryland Bar Counsel Raymond A. Hein; Thomas P. Johnson III, a Chevy Chase solo practitioner; Rickey N. Jones, a Baltimore solo practitioner; Kimm H. Massey, of Massey Law Group in Greenbelt; John M. Seeberger, a Dundalk solo practitioner; and Martin E. Wolf, of Gordon Wolf & Carney Chtd. in Towson.

Judges who are seeking higher judicial office include Keith A. Baynes, of Cecil County Circuit Court; Donald E. Beachley, of Washington County Circuit Court; Judith C. Ensor, of Baltimore County Circuit Court; Devy P. Russell, of Maryland District Court in Baltimore; E. Gregory Wells, of Calvert County Circuit Court; Administrative Law Judge Thomas G. Welshko; and Pamela J. White, of Baltimore City Circuit Court.

These 18 applicants for Zarnoch’s seat will join the names of nine judges or attorneys who have automatically been placed in the pool of candidates before the 17-member Judicial Appellate Nominating Commission. These individuals were recommended by the commission for a Court of Special Appeals vacancy within the past two years but were not appointed by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley. Under judicial nominating rules, their names are placed in the pool for the next available vacancy on the same court.

The nine candidates are Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Krystal Quinn Alves; Assistant Maryland Attorney General Cathleen C. Brockmeyer; Baltimore City Circuit Judge Audrey J.S. Carrion; attorney Harriet E. Cooperman, of Saul Ewing LLP in Baltimore; Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Melanie Shaw Geter; attorney Thomas E. Lynch III, of Miles & Stockbridge P.C. in Frederick; attorney J. Bradford McCullough, of Lerch, Early & Brewer Chtd. in Bethesda; Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Cathy H. Serrette; and attorney H. Mark Stichel, of Gohn Hankey Stichel & Berlage LLP in Baltimore.

The nominating commission will review the applicants and submit its list of recommended candidates in late November to Gov. Larry Hogan, who will make the appointment.

Zarnoch held an “at large” seat on the 15-member intermediate appeals court, meaning the seat is not limited to a resident of a specific county-defined appellate judicial circuit in Maryland but covers the whole state.