Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Five seek Raker’s spot on state appeals court

Candidate interviews scheduled for next month

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As Judge Irma S. Raker prepares to retire from the Court of Appeals next month, five applicants are vying for her seat.

Raker, who has served on the state’s highest court since 1994, will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 and will step down once a successor is named.

The applicants are: Court of Special Appeals judges Mary Ellen Barbera and Patrick L. Woodward, Rockville attorney William James Chen Jr., Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Michael D. Mason, and U.S. Patent Judge Chung K. Pak.

The appointee would serve the court’s 7th Appellate circuit, which represents Montgomery County.

The Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission will recommend finalists to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) after interviewing the candidates May 5 and May 7. From that list, O’Malley will appoint Raker’s successor, who is subject to Senate confirmation.

Barbera, 56, of Kensington worked in the criminal appeals division of the state Attorney General’s office for 10 years before becoming legal counsel to then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening in 1998. She was sworn in to the Court of Special Appeals in January 2002.

Woodward, 59, of Rockville served on the district and circuit courts for a combined 14 years and took his seat on the appellate bench in May 2005. From 1991 to 1998, Woodward was a county district court judge.

Mason, 59, of Silver Spring has been on the Montgomery County Circuit Court since March 1994. He worked as a prosecutor in the Montgomery State’s Attorney’s office for 10 years before he helped establish the Catterton, Kemp & Mason law firm in 1984.

Pak, a member of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, has judged over 3,000 cases during his tenure with the U.S. Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences. He has received the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s Special Achievement Award and its Outstanding Performance Award.

Chen, a partner with the Chen, Walsh, Tecler & McCabe law firm in Rockville, was an assistant Montgomery County attorney from 1971 to 1974, a zoning hearing examiner from 1974 to 1975, and a member of the county charter review commission from 1979 to 1983.

Got comments?

Submit written and signed comments to:

The Judiciary Nominating Commission

c⁄o The Administrative Office of the Courts

Maryland Judicial Center

580 Taylor Ave.

Annapolis, MD 21401

Comments must be received a week before the commission’s May 5 meeting.