City Councilman Timothy D. Murphy, D-6th, chairman of the Taxation and Finance Committee, has applied for a vacancy on the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City.
Murphy is among 25 people who are seeking to fill the seat left vacant when Judge Paul A. Smith was appointed to the Baltimore City Circuit Court in October.
A lawyer for 13 years and a councilman for eight, Murphy said he long has had an interest in being a District Court judge.
"There comes a time when you explore new opportunities," said Murphy. "I felt that, having made a contribution over the last eight years as a council member, this was an appropriate time."
Murphy, 40, said seeking a judgeship has nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with his job as a council member. He still intends to campaign for re-election and said the timing of his application and the municipal elections coming next year was simply coincidental.
An associate District Court judge makes $82,300 a year. As a council member, Murphy receives $29,000 plus his earnings as a lawyer for the firm headed by Peter D. Angelos.
Murphy declined to discuss his chances of getting a judgeship. But he is closely associated with former state Sen. Harry J. McGuirk, now a close aide to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
Judy Levinson, legal officer for the state Administrative Office of the Courts, said the Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission for Baltimore City will deliberate on the Smith vacancy and one created with the death, Nov. 1, of District Court Judge Carl W. Bacharach.
Levinson said the nominating commission will interviews applicants for both vacancies at the same time, probably in early January. As soon as the interviews are completed, a list of recommendations will be sent to Schaefer, who will appoint two judges.
Murphy, a long-time member of the Stonewall Democratic Club in South Baltimore, once headed by McGuirk, was appointed to the council in March 1982.
He was selected by then-Councilman George W. Della, Jr. and council member William J. Myers to fill the vacancy of council member Joseph W. Murphy who had died a month earlier. The appointment was confirmed by a vote of the entire council. Joseph Murphy and Timothy Murphy are not related.
Timothy Murphy had served a chair of the city's Democratic State Central Committee. He was an assistant city prosecutor from 1977 until his appointment to the council. Murphy worked as a District Court Commissioner from 1972-76 while attending law school at night at the University of Baltimore.