ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 27, 2010) – Governor O’Malley announced today the elevation of the Honorable Jan M. Alexander to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, the appointment of V. Michael Whelan to the Circuit Court for Cecil County, and the appointment of Karen Christy Holt Chesser to the St. Mary’s County District Court. Judge Alexander will fill a new vacancy on the Circuit Court created by the General Assembly. Mr. Whelan will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Dexter M. Thompson, Jr. Ms. Chesser will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable John F. Slade, III.
“I am proud to appoint Jan Alexander, Michael Whelan, and Christy Chesser to serve as trial court judges,” said Governor O’Malley. “Each of these candidates has the strong work ethic, dedication to justice, and even temperament necessary to be an excellent judge.”
Since 2002, Mr. Alexander has been an Associate Judge for the District Court for Baltimore County. Before his appointment to the District Court, Judge Alexander was a prosecutor for 14 years. While working for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, he served on the Sex Offense Task Force, supervised the Central Booking Intake Unit, supervised Felony Trials, and ultimately was the Division Chief of the Misdemeanor Trial Division. Judge Alexander also worked as a litigation associate in private practice, handling cases regarding domestic relations, trusts and estates, contracts, and torts.
Judge Alexander has been active in the betterment of the legal profession, serving as Secretary of the Harry A. Cole Judicial Council, and on various committees of the Monumental City Bar Association. In addition, he has taught a trial advocacy course at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Judge Alexander earned his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. Upon graduation, he clerked for the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore City.
Mr. Whelan has practiced law in Elkton, Maryland since 1979. His practice focuses primarily on criminal law, trusts and estates, and real estate law, but he also has handled cases involving bankruptcy law, torts, Social Security law, and other civil matters. Since 1992, he has been counsel to the Cecilton Volunteer Fire Company. Prior to entering private practice on a full-time basis in 1990, Mr. Whelan prosecuted crimes in Cecil and Prince George’s Counties. He worked as a part-time Assistant State’s Attorney for Cecil County for 11 years. He also worked for several years as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County.
Mr. Whelan is active in his community and in professional associations. He is a past president of the Cecil County Bar Association and the Cecilton Lions Club. In 1994, he helped found the Cecilton Lions Charities, a charitable organization. Mr. Whelan earned his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Ms. Chesser has practiced law her entire career in St. Mary’s County, and since 2006, she has been the County Attorney for St. Mary’s County. In that capacity, she regularly represents the County in District and Circuit Courts, and she advises County departments and the Board of County Commissioners on topics such as land use, zoning, contracts, and public safety. Ms. Chesser spent 10 years as a prosecutor in the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, including 8 years as Deputy State’s Attorney. Through the St. Mary’s County Family Law Clinic, she spent several years assisting clients who represented themselves in court.
Ms. Chesser has been involved in community and professional organizations. For many years, she served on the Board of Directors of the Marcey House, a substance abuse treatment facility. Currently, she participates in the professionalism course given to all new lawyers admitted to the Maryland Bar. Ms. Chesser earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
Judge Alexander, Mr. Whelan, and Ms. Chesser were nominated by the Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commissions. More information about the nominating commissions can be found at http://www.gov.state.md.us/executiveorders/01.01.2008.04eo.pdf.