State senator, former Cecil prosecutor seek Harford judgeship
— Several people with Cecil County connections are among the 12 applicants for a new Harford County Circuit Court judgeship.
Among the candidates are Kerwin A. Miller, who served as a Cecil County prosecutor from 2006 through May 2015, and H. Wayne Norman Jr., a Bel Air-based lawyer who, as a state senator for District 35, represents western Cecil County along with a large portion of Harford County.
The Harford County Judicial Nominating Commission announced the applicants, three of whom are holdovers from the previous judicial nominating process, after last week’s deadline for filing for the judgeship.
Now Miller, Norman and the other 10 applicants will go through an involved nominating process that ultimately will lead to a “short list” of finalists landing on the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, who will make a judicial appointment after interviewing them.
During his nine years with the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office, Miller successfully prosecuted defendants in several high-profile murder cases.
Most notably, perhaps,
Miller successfully prosecuted three men and a teen who forced their way into a Chesapeake City-area home in November 2009 and, during the process of the armed robbery, gunned down 40-year-old Terri Ann McCoy.
Miller held the titles of deputy state’s attorney, or second-in-command, and chief homicide prosecutor during his last seven years in Cecil County after serving his first two as an assistant state’s attorney.
Miller left the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office in May 2015 because he was hired to be a Maryland administrative law judge, a position that takes him to jurisdictions throughout the state to hear and rule on appeals in cases in which the executive branch of the government has made a decision.
The long list of legal matters addressed includes personnel matters, handgun permits and licensing.
Miller, who has been practicing law for 16 years, gained invaluable experience as a Cecil County prosecutor, he said. That experience is one of the reasons he would serve well as a judge, Miller added.
“The main thing is, whether it’s Cecil County or Harford County, these are criminal-heavy dockets. Prosecuting was incredibly beneficial to me because I have the background and the experience,” Miller said, adding, “I gained immeasurable experience as a prosecutor in Cecil County.”
Norman, meanwhile, has been operating a private law office in Bel Air for about 31 years, after spending the first four years of his career as an associate attorney. He passed the Maryland bar exam in 1981, after graduating from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
He doesn’t specialize, which, Norman believes, should help him as a judge.
“I take whatever comes through the door, except for workmen’s comp cases,” Norman said. “Every lawyer with a practice is going to handle divorces, criminal stuff and accident cases. But I also do mechanic’s lien cases, which are only heard in circuit court.”
The same is true for other legal matters handled by Norman, including orphans’ court cases, guardianships, homeowners’ as- sociation injunctions and de novo appeals, he added.
As for his political career, Norman, who is a Republican, was appointed to a state delegate position in 2008 to fill a spot vacated by fellow Harford Countian Barry Glassman, who left because he had been appointed to an open State Senate seat. Norman went on to win a four-year term as delegate in 2010.
Then, after Glassman was elected to the Harford County executive position, Norman ran for Glassman’s open senate seat in the 2014 general election and won.
Norman serves in several capacities as a state senator, including as a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics and — of particular interest to Cecil County residents — the Bainbridge Development Advisory Board.
“I love being in the senate, but I’ve been a lawyer since 1981. I think every lawyer would want to end his career as a judge,” Norman said.
State Sen. Wayne Norman (R-Harford/Cecil) looks on during the start of the 2016 General Assembly. He is now in consideration for a Harford County Circuit Court judgeship.
Former Cecil County prosecutor Kerwin Miller is among those in the running for an open Harford County Circuit Court seat.