Judge in dual role seeking reappointment


Not many people can say they are both a lawyer and a judge at the same time. Thomas DiGirolamo can.

An attorney for the past 21 years, DiGirolamo was sworn in four years ago as a U.S. District Court magistrate judge in Western Maryland. He is seeking reappointment to that part-time post.

U.S. District judges vote on whether to reappoint judges. The matter then goes to committee and is advertised for public comments, DiGirolamo said.

When he accepted the appointment in 1998, he was to work about four days a month. That is up to nine days a month. The pay has increased from $31,000 annually to about $58,000, DiGirolamo said.


He hears criminal cases involving incidents that occur on federal property. He also presides over traffic and criminal cases that occur on federal roads patrolled exclusively by U.S. Park Police.

"I sit primarily in Hyattsville every Monday, one Wednesday a month in Greenbelt and on Fridays in either Hyattsville or Fort Detrick," DiGirolamo said.

Aside from traffic violations and alcohol-related offenses, DiGirolamo occasionally gets cases such as deer hunting infractions, thefts of artifacts from battlefields or national park sites and weapons violations.

There have been incidents of disturbing cultural resources, and one case in which someone dug a trench across the C&O Canal in an attempt to channel water from the Potomac River to some farm animals, DiGirolamo said.

He also approves search warrants in areas such as child pornography over the Internet and in one instance in connection with a threat to a federal officeholder.

"It's been very interesting and I'm looking forward to another four years," he said.

DiGirolamo, 45, succeeded Donald Beachley who served from 1994 until he was appointed a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

After his initial training when appointed, DiGirolamo said he has participated in several training courses to update his skills and knowledge.

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 for the Washington County Circuit Court judges. In 1983, he joined the Washington County State's Attorney's office part time. He became a full-time prosecutor in 1984.

After 11 months as the chief prosecutor for the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, he returned to private practice and is now with Schlossberg and Associates.

DiGirolamo and his wife, Jane, have two children, Kristen and Michael.

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