Ocean City Today

Kent, Oglesby named to bench

Circuit court appointees to fill vacancies created by Groton, Bloxom retirements
By Brian Gilliland | Jan 04, 2018

(Jan. 5, 2018) State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby and Family Magistrate Mary M. “Peggy” Kent will replace retiring Worcester County Circuit Court Judges Thomas Groton III and Richard Bloxom, Gov. Larry Hogan announced last Thursday.

Kent is the first woman to be appointed to a circuit court judgeship in Worcester County history.

Oglesby has served as the State’s Attorney since 2011.

Before taking office, the State Senate must confirm the appointees, and both Oglesby and Kent must run to retain the post in future elections.

“After a careful and thorough vetting process, I am confident that Mary Kent and Beau Oglesby are the most qualified candidates to fill these vacancies,” Hogan said in a press release. “Their dedication to the practice of law and history of involvement in the Worcester community will serve them well in these new positions.”

Kent was appointed to fill Groton’s seat on the bench, and Oglesby was appointed to replace Bloxom. The governor reviewed five candidates from a pool of 10 for the two positions. Other applicants included Jeffrey Cropper, David Gaskill and Regan Smith.

Kent and Oglesby had differing views on their respective appointments, as Kent sought a seat on the bench and had applied twice before, and Oglesby sees the appointment as a natural progression of his career.

“I am honored — it’s a real privilege. This is one of those things that’s a culmination of years of hard work,” Kent said.

Kent has served as a domestic relations and juvenile causes magistrate for the First Judicial Circuit since 1996. She began her law career in 1980, working as a staff attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Magistrate Kent then moved on to work in private practice for Paul C. Ewell, P.A., before founding her own practice in 1991. Kent received her law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law and her bachelor’s from the University of Richmond.

Oglesby said he didn’t start practicing law to become a judge, but couldn’t ignore the opportunity when it presented itself.

“It was the natural progression of my career, and no different than when I decided to run for the state’s attorney’s office,” he said.

He said the state’s attorney’s office is “in a good place moving forward.”

“With the opening on the court, it was an opportunity to serve Worcester County in a different capacity,” Oglesby said. “I’m honored by my selection, humbled by my selection and proud to be part of Gov. Hogan’s judicial legacy.”

Prior to being elected state’s attorney, Oglesby served as deputy state’s attorney for Caroline County and was a prosecutor for Dorchester and Wicomico counties. Oglesby was an associate attorney in private practice for both Rowe Weinstein and Sohn (formerly Wescott Rowe, LLP), and Fulton P. Jeffers, P.A. In 1995, he served as a law clerk in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County for Judges Alfred T. Truitt, D. William Simpson and Richard D. Warren. Oglesby received his law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law and his bachelor’s from Salisbury State University (now Salisbury University).

Under Maryland law, Circuit Court judges must retire at age 70. Groton and Bloxom reached this milestone earlier this year. Retired judges are allowed to continue to preside over trials, though on a reduced schedule. Both Groton and Bloxom said they intend to keep hearing cases for the foreseeable future.

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