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Maine

LePage Nominates Nine to Continue on Bench

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage has nominated nine sitting judges to another term on the bench, including District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz.

Moskowitz issued an unlawful order that tried to limit news coverage of open court proceedings, a move that attracted nationwide condemnation from media, civil liberties and government transparency advocates.

Newport attorney Josh Tardy chairs the governor's Judicial Selection Committee.

"We're careful that we don't make a one case assessment on any particular judge," Tardy says. "We look at their overall body of work and try to be comprehensive in our analysis. And with Judge Moskowitz, I can say the committee looked very carefully and was unanimous in our recommendation for his reappointment."

Moskowitz acknowledged his order was unlawful, retracted it and apologized for his actions, but many critics do not believe they got a clear explanation why Moskowitz thought he could issue such an order in the first place.

When Moskowitz was named deputy chief judge of the district court last year, that court appointment was criticized by parent advocates and some lawmakers because of his handling of some family court cases.

Moskowitz and all of the nominees will have confirmation public hearings before the Legislature's Judiciary Committee and need to be confirmed by the state Senate.

In addition to Moskowitz, LePage nominated the following:

Justice Donald H. Marden of Oakland for reappointment to active retired status of the Maine Superior Court.

Justice Joyce A. Wheeler of Portland for appointment to active retired status of the Maine Superior Court.

Justice William R. Anderson of Morrill for reappointment as a justice to the Maine Superior Court.

Justice Roland A. Cole of Wells for reappointment as a justice to the Maine Superior Court.

Judge Rae Ann French of Monmouth for reappointment as an active retired judge of the Maine District Court.

Judge Peter J. Goranites of Cumberland for appointment as an active retired judge of the Maine District Court.

Judge Andre G. JaneIle of Biddeford for reappointment as a district court judge.

Judge Susan A. Sparaco of Farmingdale for reappointment as a district court judge.