Governor Fills Wicomico Circuit Court Vacancy

SALISBURY — Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley last week announced the appointment of Master Leah Jane Seaton to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County.

Seaton will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Donald C. Davis. She has been a Master in the Wicomico County Circuit Court Division for Juvenile Causes since 2005. She also serves as a member of the Juvenile Delinquency subcommittee and Child in Need of Assistance legislation subcommittee, both of which are subcommittees of the Judiciary’s Family Law Committee.

“I am honored to appoint Master Leah Jane Seaton to the Wicomico County Court,” said O’Malley.  “Master Seaton’s intelligence, patience and work ethic made her a superb Master in the Circuit Court, and those same qualities will allow her to excel as a Circuit Court judge.”

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1981, Seaton worked as a Hearing Examiner with the Maryland Department of Human Resources before beginning a 12-year career with the Legal Aid Bureau, where she specialized in administrative law and appellate work.  In 1997, Seaton was appointed an Administrative Law Judge with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, a position she held for eight years, before accepting her appointment as Master of Domestic Relations and Juvenile causes in 2005.

Seaton was appointed by O’Malley from a field of five applicants for the Wicomico County Circuit Court bench. The list also included Melvin J. Caldwell, Jr., Angela DiPietro, Cynthia Brubaker MacDonald, Stephen Mark Tilghman and George Guild Strott, Jr. After an extensive interview process, the Judicial Nominating Committee forwarded three names to the governor for consideration, including Seaton, Caldwell and Strott.

The qualifications of a judge fall into distinct categories including legal, professional and personal. A qualified candidate has to have U.S. and Maryland citizenship, be registered to vote in state elections at the time of the appointment, be a resident of Maryland for at least five years and a resident for at least six months prior to the appointment in the geographic area where the vacancy exists. Other qualifications include being at least 30 years of age at the time of the appointment and current membership in the Maryland Bar.

The Judicial Nominating Committee reviews the qualifications of the applicants and forwards a short list to the governor shortly thereafter. The governor then makes an appointment from the list forwarded by the committee.