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Long sworn in as judge

July 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Despite his new status as a judge, M. Kenneth Long Jr.'s first request, that a standing ovation he received during his swearing-in as a Washington County District judge end quickly, was ignored Thursday.

The same crowd laughed when Long and other attorneys were ribbed during the ceremony, which was exactly as lighthearted as Long hoped it would be.

Long, 57, was sworn in as a District Court judge Thursday afternoon before two packed courtrooms, one of which showed the swearing-in on a television screen.

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Long blushed as he received the standing ovation. His wife, Marjorie Long, and daughters, Anson and Meredith Long, looked on.

"This is something I've been dreaming about for a long time," Long said. "I'm delighted to be sitting up here today."

Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich on June 14 announced that Long, who was the Washington County state's attorney, had been chosen for the 10-year District Court judgeship.

Joseph M. Getty, the governor's director of policy, complimented Long for being an "old-school" attorney.

Getty said Long was chosen for a number of reasons, including his decision as state's attorney to stay active in court proceedings instead of sticking to administrative work, and his service on the State Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Long is replacing the recently retired Noel Spence, who beat out Long for a judgeship about 11 years ago. Long, the state's attorney since 1982, was re-elected to a fifth four-year term in 2002.

Washington County's Circuit Court judges appointed Deputy State's Attorney Charles P. Strong Jr. as Long's replacement effective today.

While attorneys praised Long's work ethic, fairness, integrity and calm demeanor, they also came up with enough jokes to make the event feel like a Friars Club Roast.

"He's crazy enough to walk out in the rain and say it's a nice day," said Arthur Schneider, president of the Washington County Bar Association.

Schneider, while reading a series of quotes from famous judges, joked that attorneys wanted Long to feel like "a sword was pointed at his heart" when he makes decisions from the bench.

Long's colleagues, including Strong and Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Michael, also were fair game for ribbing.

John R. Salvatore, a former state's attorney who hired Long in 1979, joked that it was odd to find an event at which Strong was "smiling and being chatty," and Michael was being "polite and courteous."

Long said the ceremony was exactly the type of good-natured, upbeat event he wanted.

"It's a very happy day," Long said. "I'm looking forward to getting to work and learning."

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