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No. 2 in city prosecutor's office nominated to federal bench

Justice SystemBarack ObamaU.S. SenateU.S. Department of Homeland Security

The top deputy in the Baltimore prosecutor's office is in line to become a Maryland federal judge after President Obama formally nominated for the job Wednesday.

The nominee, George J. Hazel, 38, was hired to join Gregg L. Bernstein's team shortly after his election as State's Attorney in 2010. Hazel oversees felony cases including those handled by the office's major investigations, homicide and special victims units.

Hazel was a U.S. prosecutor in Washington and Baltimore before joining the city office in 2011.

"We at the State's Attorney's Office are enormously proud that President Obama has nominated George for this distinguished and important position," Bernstein said in an email.

"George has been a valued and integral partner in Baltimore's crime fight, and I am confident his considerable talents and skills will make him an excellent United States District Judge."

There is one spot on the federal bench in Maryland currently vacant, with another set to open up in January. President Obama nominated Hazel for one of the seats and Theodore Chuang, a lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security, for the other.

"Throughout their careers, these nominees have displayed unwavering commitment to justice and integrity," said President Obama.

"Their records of public service are distinguished and impressive and I am confident that they will serve the American people well from the United States District Court bench. I am honored to nominate them today."

Federal district judges are nominated by the president and have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hazel will continue working for the state's attorney's office throughout that process, according to spokesman Mark Cheshire.

Hazel was not licensed to practice law in Maryland when he joined Bernstein's office, but he was admitted to the bar in December 2011.

Hazel graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1999 and worked in private practice for five years before becoming a prosecutor.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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Justice SystemBarack ObamaU.S. SenateU.S. Department of Homeland Security
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