Two men apply for seat on circuit bench
Stanalonis, Tanavage seek to succeed Abrams as judge
A deputy prosecutor who ran for a St. Mary’s judgeship six years ago, and a former colleague who left the state’s attorney’s office a year earlier, have applied to be the successor to a circuit court judge who recently retired.
Joseph M. Stanalonis, the former judicial election candidate, and James L. Tanavage, now operating a private legal practice, filed their applications at the end of last week to be considered by a local judicial nominating commission that is scheduled to meet in late June. The commissions choose and recommend applicants to be considered by Maryland’s governor, who appoints a new judge before the seat also can be sought by any lawyer in a later election.
Stanalonis lost his bid in 2012 to unseat appointed Circuit Judge David W. Densford, after they each won a primary contest in that year’s election. In 2015, The Maryland Court of Appeals cleared Stanalonis of allegations, at one point substantiated by a trial court judge, that he had violated rules of professional conduct during that campaign
through a flier that claimed that Densford opposed the registration of convicted sexual offenders. Stanalonis, whose career as a prosecutor began in 1996, said after the appeals court’s decision that his campaign “took the high road the entire time.”
Tanavage, who began working at the state’s attorney’s office in
1993, left the office in 2011, in the aftermath of the
2010 re-election campaign of State’s Attorney Richard
Fritz (R) that coincided with the unsuccessful prosecution in court of Fritz’s opponent. At that time, Tanavage described his departure from what was no longer “a healthy work environment for me” as a result of being “made a
scapegoat for what went wrong with [the prosecution of Fritz’s opponent.] I did not feel there was sufficient evidence to get a conviction.”
Stanalonis and Tanavage are seeking the judgeship being vacated by Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams, who continues to work in an active retirement status.