The new face of the Cecil County Circuit Court began earlier this month when the Honorable Michael Whalen defeated his sole opponent in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Judge Whalen, who was appointed by Governor O'Malley and strongly supported by the local Cecil County Bar, will be on only name on the November ballot when he will be formally elected to a 15 year term. However, the term will be shortened due to the Maryland law that mandates 70 as the mandatory retirement age for judges. Judge Whalen filled the vacancy created by the recent retirement of the Honorable Dexter M. Thompson, Jr.
Speaking of mandatory retirement, the Honorable O. Robert Lidums hits that magic age at the end of the month creating another vacancy on the Court. It is anticipated that Judge Lidums will continue to sit as a retired judge for as many days as allowed by law and will continue as the judge for Pre-Trial Conferences for jury demands from the District Court.The vacancy created by the passing of the Honorable Richard Eli Jackson remains unfilled and it is anyone's guess when and whom Governor O'Malley will appoint judges for the two vacancies. The Governor has issued an Executive Order regarding the procedures to be followed in filling these vacancies and he has the option pursuant to that order to appoint from previously qualified candidates or seek additional names form interested lawyers.
The two new appointees will have to run for election in the November, 2012 general election and in my humble opinion it will be a spirited affair with several challenger..Stay tuned as the face of the bench for the Circuit Court for Cecal County, Maryland continues to change.