The landscape for criminal defense lawyers and criminal defendants in Cecil County, Maryland is about to dramatically change due to the recent retirement of the Honorable Dexter M. Thompson, Jr. With the Honorable O. Robert Lidums facing mandatory retirement due to age effective October, 2010, the Cecil County Circuit Court will have two new faces in the near future.
The rumor mill was rampant with potential candidates and February 8, 2010 the 5 applicants were announced . Their applications were forwarded to the Judicial Nominating Commission for District 2, that is composed of lawyers and non-lawyers previously appointed by Governor Martin O'Malley. The JNC considered comments from the various bar associations and any other interested persons who wrote to the Commission with comments and 4 applicants were sent to Gov. O'Malley for the appointment. Of note, the applicant that was omitted from consideration was the State's Attorney for Cecil County!! The successful candidate will then have to run for election in the 2010 general election and the winner will serve for 15 years. Any lawyer may run in the general election, even if the lawyer did not initially apply for the appointment. The rumor mill has it that a long time Elkton lawyer that did not apply plans to run against the eventual appointee in the general election!! And he may be the favorite to win!! So be prepared for an interesting September primary.
This appointment is very important to all citizens of the County and I urge everyone to become involved so that your voices are heard. Judges effect you and your families lives and you have a say in the governor's appointment and the ultimate say in the general election. There is an ongoing movement to do away with judicial elections by arguing that the process is too political. Do not be misled by this reasoning.....nothing could be more political than appointing a political crony and supporter as a judge than the current system. More later.