Oath cer­e­monies set for ap­pointed Ce­cil judges

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMIL­TON


Ju­di­cial ap­pointees Clara Eva Camp­bell and Wil­liam W. Davis Jr. have sched­uled their oath cer­e­monies for Aug. 19 and Sept. 9, re­spec­tively.

Gov. Larry Ho­gan ap­pointed Camp­bell to the open Ce­cil County District Court judge­ship on July 1, the same day that he tapped Davis to be­come the next Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court judge.

Nei­ther has been sit­ting idle since the ap­point­ments. That’s be­cause Camp­bell and Davis — both of whom are Elk­ton-based pri­vate prac­ti­tion­ers with nu­mer­ous clients — are phas­ing out that part of their law ca­reers be­fore tran­si­tion­ing into their judge­ships.

“My main pri­or­ity is to take care of my clients, as many as I can, any­way, be-


fore I get sworn in as judge. I tried to sched­ule it (the in­vesti­ture) as far back as I could while, at the same time, still ac­com­mo­dat­ing the court,” Davis said.

Davis has been in a “wind­down pe­riod,” as he calls it.

“I took in­ven­tory of all my cases and de­ter­mined how many I could see through to the fin­ish. So I’m still in court just about ev­ery day, rep­re­sent­ing my clients,” Davis said. “My clients are very happy for me. Some are al­ready call­ing me judge. But some are sad for them­selves, be­cause they view me as their fam­ily lawyer and I won’t be able to rep­re­sent them any­more.”

For the “hand­ful” of his clients whose cases are sched­uled for court af­ter Davis’ Sept. 9 swear­ing-in cer­e­mony, they will or al­ready have re­ceived let­ters in­form­ing them that Davis will not be able to serve as their lawyer and that they must find new coun­sel, he ex­plained.

Davis, 41, has been a pri­vate de­fense at­tor­ney and a con­tracted pub­lic de­fender for the past 13 years.

Camp­bell, mean­while, is in the process of giv­ing up her own­er­ship of a law of­fice at 190 E. Main St. in Elk­ton, where four at­tor­neys will re­main and con­tinue to prac­tice af­ter Camp­bell takes the district court bench.

Af­ter pass­ing the bar in 1987, Camp­bell, now 55, of Ce­cil­ton, worked with sev­eral other Elk­ton-based lawyers be­fore branch­ing out on her own. In 2012, Camp­bell ex­panded her law prac­tice at 190 E. Main St. It is now the largest law of­fice in Elk­ton.

“I can’t own the law prac­tice when I’m a judge, but the en­tity will carry on. The prac­tice is not shut­ting down and the of­fice is not mov­ing,” Camp­bell em­pha­sized. “Right now, we’re just try­ing to get sit­u­ated with the clients and the tran­si­tion.”

Camp­bell is fill­ing a judge­ship that opened when Stephen J. Baker, 60, re­tired in Oc­to­ber. Baker, who had re­ceived his gu­ber­na­to­rial ap­point­ment in May 2007, still pre­sides as a re­tired district court judge.

Her swear­ing-in cer­e­mony will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 19 in­side the Cer­e­mo­nial Court­room (Court­room I) in the Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court­house. Af­ter tak­ing her oath, Camp­bell will have a 10-year term. District Court judges must be reaf­firmed by the Mary­land Se­nate ev­ery 10 years.

Davis, mean­while, is fill­ing a va­cancy cre­ated af­ter V. Michael Whe­lan re­tired in Jan­uary, when he turned 70, which is the manda­tory re­tire­ment age for Mary­land judges. Whe­lan, who had re­ceived his gu­ber­na­to­rial ap­point­ment to that cir­cuit judge­ship in June 2010 and then re­tained the po­si­tion in the next elec­tion, now sits as a re­tired cir­cuit court judge.

Davis will start start sit­ting as a Cir­cuit Court judge af­ter his Sept. 9 in­vesti­ture, which, like Camp­bell’s Aug. 19 in­vesti­ture, will take place at 4 p.m. in the Cer­e­mo­nial Court­room (Court­room I) in the Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court­house.

Un­like the process for a District Court judge­ship, how­ever, Davis must de­feat all chal­lengers, if any, in the 2018 mid-term elec­tion to re­tain his judge­ship. The term for an elected Cir­cuit Court judge is 15 years.

Camp­bell and Davis will “shadow” judges for a brief pe­riod and re­ceive train­ing af­ter their in­vesti­tures, be­fore pre­sid­ing solo over court­room dock­ets.

The gov­er­nor ap­pointed Camp­bell and Davis on July 1, two days af­ter he in­ter­viewed them and the other “short list” ju­di­cial can­di­date, E.B. Fock­ler IV, in­side a third-floor con­fer­ence room at the Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court­house in Elk­ton — a de­par­ture from the prac­tice of Mary­land gov­er­nors con­duct­ing those meet­ings in An­napo­lis.



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