The Administrative Office of the Courts is currently accepting applications for the vacancy left by Circuit Court Audrey Creighton when she resigned June 18 after sources confirmed disciplinary charges against her.
Creighton came into the spotlight when police charged her former lover with kidnapping her shortly after then-Governor Martin O’Malley appointed her to the Circuit Court. Rickley Senning, 25, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault in January. Creighton was elected to her position in November, along with three other sitting judges. Creighton announced her retirement after sources confirmed the Commission on Judicial Disabilities had filed disciplinary charges against her.
Applicants have to be a U.S. citizen, be registered to vote, be a Maryland resident for at least five years, be a Montgomery County resident for at least six months, be at least 30 years old and be a member of the Maryland Bar, according to the application materials. The Maryland Constitution also says the lawyer selected should be “most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge.”
Those interested can apply by filling out a questionnaire on the Maryland Courts website by Aug. 5. Once the applications are in, the Nominating Commission has 85 days to submit recommendations to the governor. In the meantime, bar associations can also interview candidates and submit their recommendations to the commission as additional information, according to administrative officials.
The commission currently has a meeting scheduled for Sept. 24 for interviews and could extend them to Sept. 25 depending on the number of applicants. Administrative officials said they cannot reveal how many have applied until the due date has passed.
The commission also automatically considers a pool of applicants nominated for the same court within the past two years. For Creighton’s position, that pool includes James Alfred Bonifant, Theresa Michelle Chernosky, Debra Lynn Dwyer, Gerald William Heller, Clark Emanuel Wisor III and District Court Judges Patricia Lynn Mitchell, James Bernard Sarsfield and Margaret Marie Schweitzer.
The position opened for applications on July 15. Creighton’s retirement took effect on July 3.