SEABROOK – Although many candidates have pared down their campaigning during the summer months between the primary and general elections, significant changes have occurred in the contest to fill the four seats of the 7th Circuit of the Circuit Court of Maryland. Five candidates were set to move on to the Nov. 8 general ballot […]
SEABROOK – Although many candidates have pared down their campaigning during the summer months between the primary and general elections, significant changes have occurred in the contest to fill the four seats of the 7th Circuit of the Circuit Court of Maryland.
Five candidates were set to move on to the Nov. 8 general ballot on the basis of their performance in the Democratic and Republican primaries: sitting judges Herman Dawson, Dorothy Engel, Karen Mason and Eric Nyce and challenger Ingrid Turner. The sixth candidate, April Ademiluyi, will once again see her name on the ballot after securing the nomination from the Libertarian Party.
In spite of Ademiluyi’s success, the ballot will still feature just five candidates after sitting Judge Eric Nyce withdrew his name from consideration in a letter to Administrative Judge Sheila Tillerson Adams sent Aug. 15.
Nyce did not return a request for comment, but his letter reads, “I do not wish to compete with my colleagues or cause harm to the Circuit Court for the general election.”
His name was officially withdrawn from the ballot on Aug. 24.
Elizabeth Hewlett, chair of the committee to retain the sitting judges, said Nyce’s colleagues are saddened by his decision, but respect it.
“The remaining three judges have the utmost respect for Judge Nyce, yet we respect his decision. The remaining three sitting judges intend to go forward and hopefully (if re-elected) continue to serve the citizens of Prince George’s County really well, as they always have,” she said.
Nyce was appointed to the post of Associate Judge of the Circuit Court on Jan. 29, 2016. Previously, he had served as an associate judge for the District Court of Maryland, District 5, since 2012. Nyce has also been a mentor on the Court of Appeals pilot mentoring program for new admittees and a member of a local pro bono committee for Prince George’s County.
Hewlett said the other judges thank and commend him for his decades of service to the county as a judge and a private-practice lawyer.
“He’s just been wonderful and he’s done a lot of pro bono work for citizens and persons in need and persons without the financial wherewithal. He’s just been awesome and we wish him well,” Hewlett said.
Ademiluyi also expressed her well-wishes to Nyce in the wake of his withdrawal, and said his career in the judiciary may not be over.
“I wish him all the best of luck,” she said. “If he wants he can even get appointed again. I’ve seen that happen, where a judge loses the election but then gets appointed. So it’s not like Judge Nyce doesn’t have the opportunity to be on the bench again.”
She also said she feels Nyce’s decision doesn’t affect the race very much.
“It doesn’t necessarily change anything. The only change is it will now say ‘Choose 4 out of 5’ instead of 6,” Ademiluyi said.
Ademiluyi’s own name will appear on the ballot despite her fifth and sixth-place finishes in the county’s Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively. Although judge is a non-partisan position, candidates still have to be nominated by a registered political party to appear on the ballot. After her loss, Ademiluyi said she went to the Libertarian party to ask for their nomination – and received it.
“I talked to them about my platform and asked for the nomination and they gave it to me. I was nominated not based on political views but because of my ability to do the job,” she said. “Judges are different from any other office because we are not politicians. The role of the judge is to interpret the intent of the legislature and what the law says.”
She said she is focusing on ethics as a major part of her platform.
As a first-time candidate running against sitting judges and a fellow challenger with more name recognition, Ademiluyi has been holding fundraisers and other events to get her name out. She said campaigning has been a new experience for her.
“I’m excited. This is my first time running for office. I’m the newcomer so I have to work a little harder,” she said. “It’s been a very interesting race.”