Former colleague urges vote for Adkins-Tobin for Harford Circuit judge [Letter]

The Aegis

Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Diane Adkins-Tobin for Circuit Court Judge for Harford County. Diane is running against two recently appointed sitting judges in the June primary.

I am recently retired from the Harford County State's Attorney's Office, where I tried criminal cases for over 31 years. I was also a deputy state's attorney for the last 17 years. And even though I am now out of the law business, I truly care about this judge's election. I want to see the most qualified candidate elected and that person is Diane Adkins- Tobin.

What your readers may not know about Diane is that she has been thoroughly vetted by the Judicial Nominating Commission for Harford County. Diane's name has been on the committee’s short list several times, and on the same list with the names of the two sitting judges against whom she is running for election. The governor then appoints a judge temporarily, until an election is held and the voters make the final decision.

Diane's experience makes her eminently qualified to be a Circuit Court judge. She has been a prosecutor for over 20 years, 17 of those years with the Harford County State's Attorney's Office. She has tried some of the most brutal and heinous crimes this county has ever seen. She is the current supervisor of the Child Advocacy Center, and over the last 17 years has volunteered to do several "tours" as a trial attorney in the unit.

Diane's experience is not limited to child abuse. She has tried scores of murder, rapes, robberies, carjacking and kidnapping cases. The extensive trial experience she has gained is a must have for a circuit court judge, who needs to know the rules of evidence and procedure from day one.

Parties will be coming before these judges with serious criminal charges, divorce proceedings, custody disputes, property disputes and so on and need to have a judge with extensive trial experience, as this is their one shot, no "do-overs," to seek justice.

Diane's opponents have both been on the bench for only 17 months and 10 months, respectively. Their jury trial experience prior to their appointments to the bench pales in comparison to Diane’s, who also was a civil attorney doing trial work for 10 years, in addition to all her years as a prosecutor

Running against sitting judges, even new and inexperienced judges, has always been frowned upon in this county by the local bar for reasons I have never understood. The Maryland Constitution provides that appointed judges must run for election. If the governor was meant to be the final word on a judicial appointment, then there would be no such requirement that his temporary appointments run in an election.

The voters are meant to be the final word, so voters of this county should look long and hard at the candidates in this race, and if they do, I have no doubt that Diane Adkins-Tobin will be the voters’ choice.

Diana Brooks

Forest Hill

avought@theaegis.com

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