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Bel Air lawyer declines judgeship in Harford Co.


John E. Kelly, who was named Friday as the fifth Circuit judge for Harford County, has turned down the governor's offer, citing family and business considerations.

His decision to decline the judgeship was made after "much soul searching and with mixed emotions," Mr. Kelly said in a statement yesterday.

He said accepting the judgeship would hurt 12 people who have worked for him for 10 years.

"The effect of my becoming a Circuit Court judge would have left these treasured friends without jobs," he said.

Mr. Kelly, 50, of Fallston has 24 years of experience as a prosecutor, government attorney and civil litigator. He did not elaborate on what he called "family considerations." He opened a law practice in Bel Air in 1985.

Mr. Kelly said he told Gov. Parris N. Glendening of his decision late Friday, hours after the governor's press office had announced the appointment.

The governor will review the list of candidates for the position and make another choice, "probably sometime this week," Marilyn J. Corbett, the governor's deputy press secretary, said yesterday.

That list of candidates, which was sent to the governor in April by the Harford Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission, contained four names.

The other nominees were Diana Andrea Brooks, 37, of Thomas Run, north of Churchville; Thomas E. Marshall, 50, of Bel Air; and Jay Elliot Robinson, 48, of Forest Hill. Ms. Brooks and Mr. Robinson are assistant state's attorneys.

The governor interviewed the four nominees about a month ago.

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