BANGOR, Maine — The swearing-in ceremony for five Maine judges seemed more like a family reunion than an official event, Gov. John Baldacci said Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Baldacci administered the judicial oath to Ann Murray, Robert “Buddy” Murray, Bruce Jordan, Charles LaVerdiere and Bernard O’Mara. The Murrays, who are distantly related, were sworn in as Superior Court justices. Jordan, LaVerdiere and O’Mara took the oath to become District Court judges.
“I believe it is very important to nominate people to the bench who exude judicial temperament, honesty and integrity,” Baldacci said. “These judges have those qualities.”
The Murrays, who both live in Bangor, were elevated to the Superior Court bench from the District Court. Jordan, of Veazie, has served as a magistrate judge for the Family Court in Bangor. LaVerdiere, of Wilton, and O’Mara, of Easton, took the oath for the second time.
“This is very special to me because some of these families are so connected to Bangor,” the governor said.
The Murray and Baldacci families were active in Democratic politics when John Baldacci and Buddy Murray were growing up. When President Jimmy Carter held one of his town meetings in Bangor during the 1970s, he spent the night at the Murray house on Maple Street.
Baldacci and Robert Murray campaigned together when both served in the Legislature in the 1980s. Murray served as commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation in Baldacci’s administration until he became a District Court judge in 2004.
As Robert Murray’s wife, Margaret Murray, and son Dillon Murray helped the new Superior Court justice don his black judicial robe, the governor complimented Dillon Murray on an article in Friday’s edition of the Bangor Daily News about the younger Murray’s band, Riddim One.
“I’m going to get your autograph afterward,” Baldacci said.
In July, the governor nominated three women and three men to fill vacant judicial positions and renominated five sitting judges. All were confirmed by the Maine Senate on Aug. 25.
Swearing-in ceremonies for other judges will be completed by the end of September, Joy Leach, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Friday afternoon.
Judges in Maine serve terms of seven years and almost always are reappointed until they decide to retire or seek other employment.
The Murrays and District Court Judge MaryGay Kennedy of Brunswick replaced Superior Court Justices Joseph Jabar of Waterville, Thomas E. Delahanty II of Falmouth and Robert Crowley of Portland.
Jabar was appointed last year to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Delahanty left the bench last month to serve as Maine’s U.S. attorney. Crowley recently retired.
Jordan, Patrick Ende of Hallowell and Susan Oram of Auburn filled the slots left open by the Murrays and Kennedy.
In addition to LaVerdiere and O’Mara, Peter Granites of Cumberland, Robert Mullen of Waterville and David Griffiths of Presque Isle will continue to serve on the District Court bench. Griffiths was nominated for reappointment to active retired status, which allows retired judges to work part time where needed.
There will continue to be a vacancy on the District Court bench due to the retirement earlier this summer of Judge Bernard Staples of Hulls Cove, according to Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the court system. Staples, 77, presided for more than two decades in Ellsworth.