BERLIN – A major reshuffling of seats on the benches of the state’s highest courts for the first appellate district, which includes Worcester County and much of the lower Eastern Shore, was completed last week when Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Christopher B. Kehoe to the Court of Special Appeals.
The first domino fell when Berlin resident and long-time Court of Appeals Judge Dale Cathell, a Worcester County favorite son, two years ago reached the mandatory age for retirement, setting in motion a lengthy process to find his replacement. Several candidates emerged for Cathell’s vacant Court of Appeals seat including popular Berlin attorney Joe Moore.
After a lengthy nomination and interview process, O’Malley selected longtime sitting Court of Special Appeals Judge Sally Denison Adkins, who was appointed by the governor in May. Of course, Adkins’ elevation to the Court of Appeals created a new vacancy on the Court of Special Appeals, which O’Malley filled with the appointment of Kehoe last week.
Kehoe was chosen by the governor from a large pool of applicants for the seat including Michelle Barnes, Elise Davis, Robert Greenleaf, Victor Laws III, and Leah Seaton. The state’s judicial nominating committee then forwarded three names, Kehoe, Laws III and Seaton to the governor for consideration for the appeals court seat, and O’Malley ultimately selected Kehoe from the short list of candidates.
“I am honored to appoint Christopher Kehoe to the Maryland judiciary,” said O’Malley this week. “He has a deep commitment to public service and exemplifies the highest standards in the legal profession. Mr. Kehoe is widely respected for his intelligence, fairness, patience and integrity, attributes that will serve him well as an appellate judge.”
Kehoe has practiced law on Maryland’s Eastern Shore since 1978. Since 1983, he has been a partner in the Easton law firm of Ewing, Dietz, Fountain and Kehoe, where he specializes in the areas of local government, land use, real estate, business, trusts and estates, and alternative dispute resolution. At different times in recent years, he has also served as town attorney for Easton and Trappe.
Kehoe is no stranger to the district’s appeals courts. After earning his law degree from Duke University, he clerked for some time for the Honorable Marvin H. Smith of the state’s Court of Appeals. With his appointment last week, Kehoe will represent Maryland’s first judicial district, which includes the nine counties of the Eastern Shore including Worcester.