Seven lawyers have been nominated for the judicial vacancy on the Harford County District Court.
The county's Judicial Nominating Commission announced its selections on the Maryland Courts website. The commission met Thursday to finalize the nominations. There were originally 20 applicants for the judgeship.
The seven finalists, whose names go to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his consideration, are:
• David Earl Carey, a principal in the Bel Air firm of Brown, Brown & Young and a longtime member of the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners;
• Kelly Anne Casper, district public defender for Harford County;
• Charles Edward Kearney Jr., a principal in the Bel Air firm of Kearney & Bolton and former legal counsel to the Harford County Council;
• Melissa Lazarich Lambert, current legal counsel to the Harford County Council and a former assistant state's attorney;
• Kevin Joseph Mahoney, a principal in the Bel Air firm of Snee, Mahoney, Lutche & Helmlinger.
• Carl Ridgeley Schlaich, senior partner in the Bel Air firm Schlaich & Thompson and prominent member of the county's criminal defense bar;
• Diane Adkins Tobin, a deputy state's attorney for Harford County.
Lambert and Tobin are also finalists for the vacancy on the Harford County Circuit Court that has yet to be filled by O'Malley.
Laura Bearsch, chairman of the 12-member nominating committee, said Monday that members Paul Ishak, Charles Keenan and O'Melia James recused themselves from voting on the District Court choices based on their professional relationships with some of the applicants. Bearsch also asked it be noted that during last month's committee votes on nominees for a vacancy on the Harford Circuit Court, member Penny Comeau recused herself because her husband, Michael, was one of the applicants.
The vacancy on the District Court results from the recent retirement of Judge John Dunnigan.
Upon their appointment by the governor, District Court judges serve 10 years terms and are eligible for reappointment until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70. Unlike Circuit Court judges, there is no election requirement for a District Court judge.
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The current salary for a District Court associate judge is $129,798 yearly.