Mickey J. Norman, a former Maryland state trooper who has spent nearly 20 years as a Baltimore County prosecutor, was appointed yesterday to the county Circuit Court.
Norman, 53, replaces Judge John F. Fader II, who retired in November. He is expected to assume his seat within 30 days, said a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
"I'm excited," Norman said on a day when his phone rang constantly and his voice mailbox was filled with congratulatory calls. "I am very proud to have this honor bestowed upon me, and I'm looking forward to continuing to serve the public as a judge."
Norman has worked in the county's state's attorney's office for nearly 20 years and is chief of the violent crimes unit.
"We're very, very happy for Mickey and think he'll be a great asset to the Circuit Court bench," Deputy State's Attorney Stephen Bailey said, "but at the same time it's a tremendous loss for the office because he's been an outstanding prosecutor as well as a good friend.
"If you talk to people who tried cases against him, I think that they would uniformly tell you that he was always prepared and very much a zealous advocate for the position of the state. At the same time, I believe you would also find that he was always considered very fair and never took things personally in terms of his battles in the courtroom," Bailey said.
Once, Norman was involved in a case as a would-be victim.
In an October 2001 trial, inmate Kenneth Moroz testified that another inmate, Christopher A. Denicolis, asked him several times to kill Norman and Baltimore County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz. Norman had prosecuted Denicolis for a series of armed robberies.
Norman also prosecuted John A. Miller IV, an unemployed store clerk who sexually assaulted and killed a Carroll County girl after luring her to his apartment with the false promise of a baby-sitting job. Miller was sentenced to death for his crimes, but the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the sentence in February.
"A lot of the cases stick out, and what comes to mind always are the victims and the witnesses that you meet," Norman said. "It's more the human beings and their character than the facts of the case."
Norman was a state trooper for 11 years, eight of which were spent as an undercover investigator assigned to the narcotics division. He earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School and said he wanted to be a lawyer "to become part of a system that helped people who needed help."
Norman lives in Baldwin with his wife, Patricia.