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JUDICIAL SELECTION

Judge Donnell W. Turner and three of his judicial colleagues, Judge Darren S. Johnson, Judge Stenise L. Rolle, and Judge Cheri N. Simpkins, are incumbent judges running for election to retain their roles as Associate Judges for the Circuit Court of Prince George's County, Maryland.  Although Judge Turner and his colleagues currently serve as Circuit Court judges who preside over cases daily, the Maryland Constitution requires Circuit Court judges to run for election after being appointed by the Governor. 

The retention of the sitting judges in this election ensures that Prince George's County has the most qualified judges on the bench. Prior to being appointed by the Governor, Judge Turner, Judge Johnson, Judge Rolle, and Judge Simpkins went through a lengthy vetting process, conducted by the Governor's appointed Judicial Nominating Commission ("the Commission"). The Commission is made up of attorneys and members of the community, whose job is to assist the Governor in selecting individuals who are highly qualified to serve as judges. This process includes a thorough review of each candidate's educational, professional, and personal background. The process begins with the submission of an application and questionnaire, requesting information about the judicial candidates' qualifications, work experience, community involvement, and writing samples. Each candidate is then interviewed by at least 10 different bar associations, who evaluate the candidate's qualifications, and provide their results to the Commission. The Commission also conducts an independent interview and investigation of each judicial candidate. After vetting by the bar associations and the Commission, if the judicial candidate is deemed to have met the exceptional standards of legal aptitude, character, and constitutional requirements of a judge, the judicial candidate's name is sent by the Commission to the Governor. Prior to making a selection, the Governor also conducts a separate review of the judicial candidate's qualifications, and has an in-person interview with each candidate.

As one can imagine, the successful completion of the vetting process is an arduous task. However, this process ensures that those appointed as judges, are highly qualified with a demonstrated commitment to the impartial administration of justice.  Judge Turner and his respective colleagues' appointment to the bench subsequent to this rigorous investigation and interview process are proof that they are best fit to serve as members of the court and as worthy representatives of the Prince George's County community.  

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