PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD — The role of a judge is intrinsically a public service, but five County Circuit Judges bring a whole new meaning to it with their work in the community.
Those five judges make up the governor-appointed slate that is up for election to the Circuit Court bench in Prince George’s County, Maryland this year: Judge Bryon Bereano, Judge Wytonja Curry, Judge ShaRon Kelsey, Judge Jared McCarthy, and Judge Cathy Serrette.
All five judges underwent a rigorous vetting process that led to their appointment, starting with a thorough application, then interviews before their legal peers at 13 bar associations. Next, they made their way before the governors appointing committee that recommended them to the governor, who granted them appointments to the bench. But succeeding through the process to the bench isn’t the only accomplishment these judges have in common, they also demonstrate a deep commitment to their communities.
Judge Bereano is active in the Maryland State Mock Trail program, where high school mock trail teams compete for a chance to argue their case before the state Court of Appeals. Judge Curry also volunteers her time with high school mock trial competitions, attends expungement seminars, and regularly attends community events.
Before she served on the bench, Judge Kelsey volunteered her time helping community members with the expungement process. She now volunteers her time with the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center, her church, and as an annual mentor through the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Judge McCarthy’s public service background extends into his role as the Acting County Attorney under then County Executive Rushern Baker, III, where he oversaw projects ranging from the lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, to the County teaming up with the NAACP to sue the Census Bureau.
Lastly, with over fifteen years on the bench, Judge Serrette saw firsthand the need for systemic improvements for abused and neglected children in the court system. She currently heads the county’s Model Court and co-chairs the Bridge from Y.E.S. Committee, and served as chair to the task force that established the Prince George’s County Family Justice Center to champion those issues.
This year’s elections are June 2, 2020 and the slate of five sitting judges is being challenged by April Ademiluyi and Gladys Weatherspoon. It will be an election by mail due to the precautions taken under the coronavirus pandemic.
Listen to their full discussion on community service with 104.7 WONK FM's Jen Richer here: