Joseph Getty, a Manchester resident, has been tapped by his current boss to fill a vacancy on the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the appointment — along with those of Judge Donald Beachley and Judge Melanie Shaw Geter to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals — on Wednesday. The appointments are effective immediately.
"I'm very humbled by this honor to be appointed by Gov. Hogan," Getty said.
The opportunity is "very exciting," he said, and he looks forward to working with the other judges on the Court of Appeals bench and bringing his experience in the legislative and executive branches of the Maryland government to the court.
"In general, I have great respect for the Maryland Court of Appeals," he said.
Getty has been serving as Hogan's chief legislative officer since the Republican governor took office in 2015.
"Joe is a devoted public servant who has spent his entire career and a good portion of his life in service to his community and to our state," Hogan said in a prepared release. "His unquestionable integrity, deep legal expertise, and devotion to the people of Maryland make him an excellent fit for the state's highest court. I have complete confidence that he will continue to be a strong advocate for the law and our citizens while serving on the Maryland Court of Appeals."
Getty represented Carroll County and parts of Baltimore County in the state Senate and House of Delegates prior to joining Hogan's administration. He served in the House from 1995 to 2003, then was elected senator in 2011, winning re-election in 2014 but resigning to take the job in Hogan's Cabinet.
Getty served on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee during his time in the state legislature. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law, received a master's degree in American civilization from George Washington University and received a bachelor's degree in American studies from Washington College.
His time in the Maryland legislature has helped him gain a strong understanding of the process for passing bills, Getty said.
As the chief legislative officer to Hogan, Getty said, he had the chance to work as an adviser to the governor on what the General Assembly passed and whether the governor should consider signing or vetoing a bill. His role also allowed him to help implement the new laws.
"I think having both sides — the legislative and the executive experience — will be a good foundation for the workings of the court," Getty said.
Westminster resident Caroline Babylon, who has known Getty since childhood, worked with Getty on agricultural and bond bills while he was delegate.
"He was always helpful, informed and up-front whether the news was good or bad ...," she said in an email.
Getty was one of nine candidates who applied for the opening on the state's high court created by the retirement of Judge Lynne Battaglia, who turned 70 in April, reaching the mandated retirement age for judges in the state.
The seven judges on the Court of Appeals are chosen by each of the state's seven appellate judicial circuits and are required to be a resident of that circuit. Getty will represent the 3rd Appellate Judicial Circuit, which covers Carroll, Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Washington counties, according to the Maryland judicial vacancies website.
After initial appointment by the governor with confirmation by the Senate, members of the court must run for continuance in office in the first general election occurring at least a year after their appointment. If confirmed, Court of Appeals judges serve 10-year terms.
Carroll County State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said the State's Attorney Association met with Getty prior to his appointment and was impressed. Getty is intellectual and fair, qualities that people want in a Court of Appeals judge, DeLeonardo said.
DeLeonardo added that he thinks Getty will be an asset to the court.
"I think his legislative background will likely be helpful when it comes to ruling on the statutes," he said.
Getty has done a lot for the Carroll County Bar Association, helping to keep them up to date on new legislation from the General Assembly, he said. But Getty's ties to the county extend further back than his work with the bar association.
Babylon said in an email that she has known Getty since the 1970s, when she was a Red Cross volunteer and he was a lifeguard at a Manchester pool.
"Even as a teenager he was courteous, knowledgeable, and hard working," she said in an email.
Babylon and former Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff spoke of Getty as someone who would help with research and policy questions, but also as a Boy Scout leader and a father.
"When I served as a Westminster elected official, 1999-2005, Joe was indispensable for unraveling public policy puzzles. He always had time to help. He was never too busy," former Dayhoff said in an email.
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Babylon's father served on the Westminster Common Council for 25 years, and worked with Getty on multiple projects and legislative issues facing Westminster, she said.
It's a "nice thing" to have a judge on the Court of Appeals bench who comes from the county, DeLeonardo said.
"It's a big deal to have someone from Carroll County," he said.
S. Wayne Carter Jr. contributed to this story.