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Beachley, Long in running for bench seat

September 12, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

and GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writers

Hagerstown attorney Don Beachley is in the running for Washington County's vacant Circuit Court judgeship, getting the nod Wednesday from the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Beachley, who has been a U.S. magistrate judge for 31/2 years, and Washington County State's Attorney Ken Long now are the only contenders for the post, which pays $96,500 a year.

State Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington, was not nominated by the commission, according to Mike O'Malley, administrator of the Maryland state courts.

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Poole said he was disappointed by not receiving a nomination. Many political observers had assumed his name would at least be forwarded to Gov. Parris Glendening, and several political hopefuls had announced intentions to fill the remaining year of Poole's legislative term.

"I'm surprised. People kept saying, `Oh, it's a lock.' And I kept telling them, `Nothing is a lock.' But I thought I had a good chance," Poole said.

Poole said he was told by some members of the nominating commission that he would be of better public service by staying in the Maryland General Assembly.

The only other nominee, Thomas Wade, also didn't receive enough votes to progress to the governor's desk.

Beachley, 40, is a Myersville, Md., native and graduate of Hood College. His law degree was earned at the University of Maryland Law School.

A Hagerstown attorney since 1980, Beachley is associated with Miller, Oliver, Beachley and Stone. He has also been a U.S. Magistrate Judge for 31/2 years.

"I handle some criminal matters that have no federal involvement," Beachley said. But mostly he is involved with insurance defense and family law matters.

"I have always aspired to be a Circuit Court judge. The public service aspects really interest me," Beachley said.

He added that he is very knowledgeable about those social matters that figure in family law cases - drugs, alcohol and domestic problems.

He and Long now must wait for Glendening to either make his decision between them or ask for more names to be considered as he has done in the past.

Whoever is appointed will then take the bench but must run in the 1998 county election to secure the 15-year post.

Long, 50, Washington County's elected state's attorney since 1982, is a Hagerstown native and graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

He earned his law degree from the University of Maryland Law School and was in private practice before joining the staff of the state's attorney's office, first as a part-time prosecutor.

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