Patrick Devine, 57

Potomac

Associate judge

Makeba Gibbs, 50

La Plata

Owner of Law Office of Makeba Gibbs

Why should voters choose me instead of my opponent?

Patrick Devine: I have been helping people through the legal system here in Charles County for over 30 years as a prosecutor, a defense attorney, family law attorney, and now as a judge. That professional experience, along with my involvement in the community teaching law at the College of Southern Maryland and coaching soccer and basketball, has given me an understanding and love for our community. I enjoy working with youth and devote time to help with career days, mock trial, civics classes or competitions, mentoring young lawyers, and inviting youth groups into the courthouse to see proceedings. My wife, Trish, works in the public school system here in Charles County and we are raising our four children here.

I was the past president of the Charles County Bar Association and I am the only candidate endorsed by the Maryland State Bar Association. I am also sensitive to our military veterans and military issues, having served in the U.S. Naval Reserves and Coast Guard Reserves. While this is a nonpartisan race, I am supported by both Democrats and Republicans and will continue to bring unity to the county. As a current sitting judge in Charles County, I am the only judge handling juvenile cases. With 25 years of experience representing young people before the courts in our county, I understand all aspects of the proceedings and the effects that my decisions have on those who appear before me. I also understand the impact it has on their families, which is one of the reasons I was placed in charge of juvenile court.

As a Circuit Court judge, I am fighting for additional funding for specialty courts for drug addiction and mental illness and additional inpatient programs for drug and mental health care. We, the sitting judges, are in the process of obtaining funding for a co-dependency specialty court because so many people suffer from a dual diagnosis of drug addiction and mental illness. I am also supporting probation officers to help with individuals transitioning back into society and making data public so a judge’s conduct at sentencing can be monitored for explicit or implicit bias. I think that all of these will make for a better Charles County and I am eager to continue to serve our citizens.

I was fully vetted by specialty bar associations and our the judicial nominating commission who ranked me “Most Qualified.” The governor appointed me in January 2019 and I have numerous endorsements and the support of the local legal community. Thank you for considering my candidacy and I ask that you vote for me Nov. 3 so we can continue to move Charles County forward.

Patrick Devine, 57

Potomac

Associate judge

Makeba Gibbs, 50

La Plata

Owner of Law Office of Makeba Gibbs

Why should voters choose me instead of my opponent?

Makeba Gibbs: The main reasons to vote for me are fairness, experience and justice. My experience and extensive community involvement can be found on my website at electmakebagibbs.com. Voters will also find numerous public campaign interviews. I am available to answer any questions that anyone may have about them. I believe that the array of information about my background would be helpful in deciding if I am the candidate to whom the voters will choose to cast their vote.

Highlights of my experience are as follows: solo practitioner at the Law Office of Makeba Gibbs in La Plata six years; former Maryland assistant public defender nine years; handled thousands of cases statewide both civil and criminal; extensive jury trial experience; free civil legal clinic volunteer; past president of the Charles County Bar Association; founding president of the Salome Howard Bar Association; former MSBA Leadership Academy Fellow; vetted and recommended to the governor for appointment to the Circuit Court by both Democratic and Republican judicial nominating commissions; Tri-County Maryland Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; mock trial coach NPHS; licensed foster and adoptive parent; and mentor, community and church team leader.

I would like to see specialty or “problem-solving” courts established in this county. Drug, mental health and veterans courts are set up by a sitting judge applying through the Maryland judiciary to manage the court. It requires funding but I believe they are needed with the opioid crisis that is affecting so many families in the county. I would need the cooperation of the community and other judges to push for them to be established. There is a Family Recovery Court which helps parents that have children in foster care, substance abuse issues and criminal cases pending. As a foster mom myself I am very familiar with how that court works and how beneficial it is to helping families stay together. It gives people hope and a roadmap to recovery.

My campaign is focused on highlighting my qualifications. I am managing a professional judicial political campaign. I will not nor will I encourage anyone representing my campaign to make comments that would disparage or demean my opponent. He and I are both duly sworn officers of the court and bound by Maryland Court Rules – Judges and Judicial Appointees. Rule 18-104.4 (Political Conduct of Candidate for Election) which states: “A candidate for election: (b) SHALL ACT at all times in a manner consistent with the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and maintain the dignity appropriate to judicial office.” In short, negative campaigns are undignified.

Judges are required to be vetted by the people via elections. “Sitting” does not ensure that an appointee will retain a judicial position. That is determined by the voters after they have been duly elected. The Maryland Constitution requires a fair election by the citizens of Charles County. I believe that I am the best candidate for the position and I am asking for your vote.