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Former delegate Smigiel seeks Cecil County judgeship

3a Smigiel_webFormer Maryland delegate and failed congressional candidate Michael D. Smigiel Sr., R-Upper Shore, has applied for vacancies on the state circuit and district courts in Cecil County.

Smigiel, who served 12 years in the General Assembly before losing in the 2014 Republican primary, called it “serendipity” that two judgeships are vacant at the same time, so he applied for both figuring that doubled his chances to be appointed to one.

“We’ll put it in God’s hands and see what God thinks,” said Smigiel, an Elkton solo practitioner.  “He didn’t want me to be a congressman.”

Smigiel, who lost the GOP congressional primary to incumbent Rep. Andy Harris last month, is one of four candidates to succeed retired Cecil County Circuit Judge V. Michael Whelan and one of five applicants to succeed retired District Judge Stephen J. Baker.

The candidates will be screened by the Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission for Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, which will submit to Gov. Larry Hogan its lists of recommended candidates for the circuit and district courts. The governor is not bound to make his selection from the commission’s lists, but that has been the practice for the past four decades.

Like Smigiel, attorneys William Wardell Davis Jr. and Edwin Benjamin Fockler IV have essentially hedged their bets and applied for both judgeships. Davis is a solo practitioner and Fockler a public defender in Elkton.

Cecil County State’s Attorney Edward Dorsey Ellis Rollins III has also applied for the seat on the Cecil County Circuit Court, on which his late father served for 19 years. Solo practitioners Clara Eva Campbell, of Elkton, and Stephanie Diebold Hamilton, of North East, have joined Davis, Fockler and Smigiel in applying for the district court.

The commission is expected to submit its lists to Hogan in early June.