Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday named two prosecutors and a criminal defense attorney to circuit court judgeships.
Myshala E. Middleton, with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Assistant Worcester County State’s Attorney Karen M. Dean will join the Baltimore City and Wicomico County circuit courts, respectively. Erik S. Atas, who represents criminal defendants for Zirkin & Schmerling Law, will also take a seat on the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
“The appointment of these qualified individuals to serve across our state’s justice system is paramount to upholding our responsibilities to the people of Maryland and the rule of law,” Hogan said in a statement. “I have every confidence that Mr. Atas, Ms. Middleton and Ms. Dean will continue to be strong advocates for the law and will serve the citizens of Maryland admirably.”
Middleton, as an administrative prosecutor for ICE since 2018, has litigated removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, according to a biography provided by the governor’s office. She also served for six years as an assistant Baltimore City state’s attorney,
Middleton, a University of Baltimore School of Law graduate, began her legal career as a clerk for Baltimore City Circuit Judge Lynn Steward Mays form 2010 to 2011, the governor’s office stated.
Middleton succeeds retired Baltimore City Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard.
Dean has been at the Wicomico County state’s attorney’s office for about two years, handling primarily juvenile, child abuse and sexual assault cases, the governor’s office stated. She has also served as deputy Somerset County state’s attorney and senior assistant Wicomico County state’s attorney.
Dean, a Vermont Law School graduate, worked six years as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Mount Vernon Fire Department. She succeeds retired Wicomico County Circuit Judge Leah J. Seaton.
Atas worked as a public defender in Baltimore for six years before joining Zirkin & Schmerling in 2013, where he focused primarily on criminal defense, according to the governor’s office.
The University of Baltimore School of Law graduate has provided free legal aid to nonprofit drug treatment programs and women’s shelters, assisting low-income people in expunging their criminal records.
Atas succeeds retired Baltimore City Circuit Judge W. Michel Pierson.