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Mark Thomas appointed district judge

May 13, 2006|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Private attorney and part-time prosecutor Mark D. Thomas has been appointed a Washington County district judge, Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich announced Friday.

Thomas was one of four finalists for the district judge position held by M. Kenneth Long Jr.

Long was appointed to the district court bench in June 2004, but vacated the seat when he was named to a newly created fifth circuit court position in Washington County in December 2005.

Thomas, 48, said the governor called him Thursday night, but he had to keep the news to himself until Ehrlich released a statement Friday.

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Once the local circuit clerk's office is notified, it will have 30 days to swear in Thomas, said Rita Buettner of the Maryland Judiciary's Court Information Office.

The district judge term is 10 years.

The current salary for district judges is $114,502. Starting July 1, the salary will be $118,502. It will increase again in 2007 and 2008.

Thomas is a general civil litigator with the Hagerstown firm of Meyers, Young, Grove & Thomas, P.A. He has been with the firm since 1990, three years after he was admitted to the bar.

Thomas said he wouldn't have considered being a judge when he only was trying civil cases.

Then, in 1999, he also became a part-time assistant state's attorney, assigned to Washington County District Court.

Thomas - who lives north of Hagerstown with his wife and two children - said the breadth of experience he gained since then made him more confident about seeking a judgeship.

Asked why wanted to be a judge, Thomas said he has "a desire for fairness."

"There are litigators who, I guess, focus on the process as being adversarial, who confuse being a good advocate with being an adversary," Thomas said. "I like good results that advance the cause rather than winning at any cost. It's just my temperament to think that way."

Thomas said "resonableness and being willing to compromise" should be seen as laudable objectives, not signs of weakness.

"Mark brings impressive legal credentials and public and private sector experience to the court," Ehrlich said in a press release. "His background and ability will serve the citizens of Washington County and Maryland well."

Thomas also is a contract attorney for the Washington County Department of Social Services.

He was one of 11 people to apply for the district judge vacancy. The other finalists picked by the local nominating committee were Gregory C. Bannon and Margaret L. Williams, who are private attorneys, and Daniel P. Dwyer, a Washington County Circuit Court domestic relations master.

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