McDowell seeking another term as circuit judge

May 17, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell has filed to run for another 15-year term.

McDowell has been on the bench in the county since 1993, when he was appointed.

He was elected in 1994 to a 15-year term, which expired last year. Then, he was reappointed.

In Maryland, a circuit court judge must stand for election in the next general election that's at least one year after an appointment, according to the state constitution.

McDowell, 57, of Hagerstown, said he was sure years ago that he wanted to be a judge.

"I simply love what I do," he said. "Being appointed judge was a dream come true. I became what I felt I should be."

McDowell said he's good at making fair decisions quickly in criminal and civil cases.

"I can remember the day I was sworn in," he said. "It was the happiest day of my life."


He was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1977 and became an attorney in private practice.

In 1989, he was named a U.S. magistrate judge for Maryland, hearing cases involving property connected to the federal government.

The same year, he also became a magistrate judge for both the Northern District of West Virginia and the Middle District of Pennsylvania. McDowell said those positions allowed him to hear cases bordering his Maryland district.

McDowell took over as a Washington County circuit judge in 1993 after John Corderman retired.

After Frederick C. Wright III retired as a circuit judge in 2008, McDowell took over as administrative judge, meaning he oversees circuit court operations within the county. He also serves on a state conference of circuit judges.

McDowell said he has had opportunities to become an appellate judge, but he prefers being a trial judge.

As of July 1, 2008, the salary for a circuit court judge in Maryland was $140,352.

So far, no one else has filed to run for McDowell's seat on the bench.

The general election is Nov. 2.

Washington County Circuit Court judge

Name: John H. McDowell


Date of birth: June 6, 1952

Address: Declined to provide

Hometown: Hagerstown

Education: Bachelor's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1974; law degree from University of Tennessee in 1976

Occupation: Washington County Circuit Court judge

Party affiliation: Judicial race is nonpartisan

Political experience: Has served as Circuit Court judge since 1993

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