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New judge takes oath

November 06, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

On the day Tom DiGirolamo was admitted to the Maryland bar 17 years ago, he was told to remember four things - treat everyone well, be honest, help people and better yourself every day.

When he was sworn in Friday as the new U.S. District Court magistrate judge in Western Maryland, DiGirolamo said he will continue to live by those rules.

"This is an incredibly humbling experience," DiGirolamo said to a packed Washington County courtroom, filled with fellow attorneys, state and federal judges, family and friends.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Motz administered the oath of office to DiGirolamo. The job pays about $31,000.

DiGirolamo, 41, succeeds Donald Beachley who served from 1994 until he was appointed a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

Beachley had succeeded John H. McDowell, who is also now a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

Already DiGirolamo has been learning his new part-time federal judicial duties, which will include hearing cases from Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties and federal areas in Frederick County, including Fort Detrick, the Monocacy Battlefield and the presidential retreat at Camp David.

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Antietam National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historical Park also are part of DiGiralomo's jurisdiction.

Cases can range from traffic violations to a variety of criminal activities.

DiGirolamo said he will sit about four days a month - one day at Fort Detrick and three days in Hyattsville, Md. He also will keep up his private practice.

A native of Westfield, N.J., DiGirolamo earned his bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and his law degree from Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa.

He served as a court law clerk from 1981-82. "It turns out that was the best decision I have made in my 27 years on the bench," said Washington County Circuit Court Judge Frederick C. Wright III, who hired DiGirolamo to that post.

In 1983, he joined the Washington County state's attorney's office part time and became a full-time prosecutor in 1984.

After 11 months as the chief prosecutor for the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, he again returned to private practice.

DiGirolamo and his wife, Jane, are the parents of two children, Kristen and Michael.

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