Two men ap­ply for seat on cir­cuit bench

Stanalo­nis, Tanav­age seek to suc­ceed Abrams as judge

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JOHN WHAR­TON jwhar­ton@somd­

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.



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