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Hogan’s Appeals Court Pick Gets Easy Senate Hearing

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s nominee for a vacancy on the Maryland Court of Appeals flew through his confirmation hearing Monday and appears almost certain to win a 10-year term on the state’s highest court.

In December, Hogan nominated Jonathan Biran, a former federal prosecutor who worked most recently in the Baltimore office of the national law firm Baker Donelson, for the vacancy on the court that was created when Judge Clayton Greene Jr. retired earlier this year.

“Mr. Biran is a uniquely qualified fellow,” Sen. Edward Reilly (R-Anne Arundel) told his colleagues on the Senate Executive Nominations Committee, which is considering the jurist’s nomination.

Biran said he has already sat through the court’s January and February oral arguments and is excited by the opportunity to serve.

“It’s one of the highest responsibilities and greatest honors that a Maryland lawyer could have,” he said.

While at Baker Donelson, Biran was one of several lawyers representing Insys Therapeutics Inc. in lawsuits filed by various governments against the opioid manufacturer — and was part of the team defending the company against legal action in Maryland. But he received no questions during his confirmation hearing.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said the fact that Biran had never served as a judge was “reason for pause,” but he urged his colleagues to support the nomination. Ferguson said he came away from a meeting with Biran “incredibly impressed by his diligence and thoughtfulness.”

In other judicial news, Hogan on Monday nominated five attorneys to sit as judges on the Prince George’s County District Court: Larry Hogan today announced he has made five judicial appointments to the Prince George’s County District Court: Wennesa Bell Snoddy, an associate county attorney in the Prince George’s County Office of Law; John Anthony Bielec, who works in in the Office of the General Counsel at the United States Government Accountability Office; Dolores Dorsainvil, an ethics lawyer in Washington, D.C.; LaKeecia Reneé Allen, an associate county attorney for the Prince George’s County Office of Law; and Stacey Maria Cobb Smith, a lifelong prosecutor with the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“I have confidence that these appointees will be strong advocates for the law and will serve the citizens of Prince George’s  County admirably,” Hogan said in a statement.

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Hogan’s Appeals Court Pick Gets Easy Senate Hearing