Twenty lawyers, including four lower court judges, will vie for the two imminent vacancies on the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, according to the list of applicants released by the state courts last night.
The large number of hopefuls surprised some court observers, but others had anticipated a flood of applicants.
Leaving the 10-seat bench are Judge James C. Cawood Jr., who has resigned and is entering private practice at the end of this month, and Judge Eugene M. Lerner, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 next month. Lerner, however, will be able to hear cases in retirement.
The list of judicial applicants also includes two masters who hear juvenile and domestic cases for the Circuit Court; the county attorney; the school board's lawyer; and several attorneys who have previously applied.
The appointments are unlikely to be made before the General Assembly session ends in the spring because the judicial nominating commission must interview the applicants. The commission forwards the names of those it considers qualified to the governor, who has not made appointments during the session. Whether that strains the remaining judges may depend on the availability of retired judges to fill in.
From the District Court bench, the judges who applied are Vincent A. Mulieri, Essom V. Ricks Jr., Paul A. Hackner and David S. Bruce - the latter two appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
The court masters are Cynthia M. Ferris and Charles J. Muskin.
Linda M. Schuett, county attorney for the administration of County Executive Janet S. Owens, also applied. She also serves now as vice chairman of the Rules Committee, which advises the Court of Appeals on court operation and policy. She also is seeking a seat on the Court of Special Appeals - Maryand's second-highest court.
P. Tyson Bennett, the county school board's attorney and a Republican, applied. Although Glendening has favored fellow Democrats for the bench, he also has named some Republicans.
Other private practice lawyers on the list are Charles W. Ayres Jr. and John K. Gardner, who maintain offices in Glen Burnie; Ronald H. Jarashow, Keith B. Krissoff and Eric S. Lipsetts, whose practices are in Annapolis; John P. McKenna of Crofton, a litigator with a firm in Greenbelt; Charles F. Obrecht Jr., who has a Severna Park law practice; and Rodney C. Warren, former public defender in the county who is a litigator in a Baltimore practice.
Michele D. Jaklitsch, an assistant county attorney, and Beverly S. Nash of the state Office of Administrative Hearings have applied. Two assistant state's attorneys, Frederick M. Paone and Frank J. Ragione Sr., both of whom have sought judicial seats in the past, are candidates.