Harford District Court plaza in Bel Air named for the late Sen. Wayne Norman

The plaza outside the Mary Risteau Building in downtown Bel Air was named this week for the late state Sen. H. Wayne Norman Jr., who died earlier this year.

Norman, a lawyer for 35 years and one of Harford County’s three state senators, died March 4 at his home.

Sen. Bob Cassilly, who was holding a nearly 400 vote lead to retain his Senate seat, said he and Norman had gotten to be very close in the last four years as they served in the Senate together.

“The way he dealt with lawyers, judges, delegates, he was the kind of character people ought to look up to,” Cassilly said. “That we named the plaza after him says we hold this guy with great respect. It’s important for people to see, here’s the kind of the character we want you to be, to the new lawyers coming in.”

Cassilly and Norman were on the Judicial Proceedings Committee together and they dealt with a lot of tough issues — murder, rape, robbery, child abuse.

“We’d go back to his office — he had the better scotch — and chat through them, laugh a little bit,” Cassilly said. “We’d hear all the horrible stories, and sometimes it’s tough to take. We leaned on each other quite a bit.”

After Norman died, Cassilly and Judicial Proceedings Committee chair Sen. Bobby Zirkin began discussing a way to honor their late colleague and came up with naming the plaza on Bond Street outside the Risteau building, which houses Harford County District Court and other state offices for Norman.

“With my time in the county, everybody always said ‘meet me at the plaza at District Court,’ and invariably someone would go to the wrong place,” Cassilly said. “We thought it was a great opportunity to give that plaza a name and give Wayne an honor.”

Bills were introduced and passed last year in the Maryland General Assembly and Cassilly worked with the General Services Administration, the Harford Bar Association and Norman’s family to create a plaque for the plaza, which was dedicated Monday.

Among those attending were senators and delegates from across Maryland, three former Harford County Executives as well as the late senator’s family, including his wife, Linda, who succeeded him in office.

“Wayne was a smart guy, very affable. He cared about people a lot,” Cassilly said. “Some lawyers serve all rich people. Wayne had a real small town law practice that gave high quality legal service to people for 35 years and he did it very effectively.”

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