Circuit Judge S. James Sarbanes has been named administrative judge of the Circuit Court for Wicomico County effective October 1, 2015. Judge Sarbanes succeeds Judge Kathleen Leonard Beckstead, who will return to full-time service as a trial judge and presiding judge of the Wicomico County Adult Drug Court Program after having served as administrative judge since September 2010.
“Judge Sarbanes has demonstrated the extraordinary leadership and management acumen that is requisite to the administration of a Circuit Court. His prior experience as a fine lawyer and effective manager will benefit the Circuit Court for Wicomico County and the people it serves,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “In his tenure as a judge, Judge Sarbanes has quickly proved he is an asset to the Maryland Judiciary. I look forward to working with him in this new role.”
“I am grateful to Judge Beckstead for her leadership and commitment to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County and the Maryland Judiciary. Judge Beckstead has made invaluable contributions to the people and State of Maryland through her excellent work with the adult drug court, as a member of the Maryland Judicial Council’s Specialty Courts and Dockets Committee and a variety of commissions and committees,” said Chief Judge Barbera.
As administrative judge, Judge Sarbanes will oversee the administration of the court, its budget and procurement functions, and trial calendars to ensure the effective and expeditious resolution of cases.
“I am truly honored to be selected for this appointment,” said Judge Sarbanes. “I was born and raised in Wicomico County, and I am delighted to continue to serve the residents of the county, and the entire state of Maryland, in this capacity. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my career in this public service role, where I can support the Judiciary’s mission to provide fair, efficient and effective justice.”
Judge Sarbanes was appointed to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County on February 24, 2014 and sworn in on March 21, 2014. He joined the bench after serving as a partner at the law firm of Laws & Sarbanes, P.A. He also served as an associate at Adkins, Potts and Smethurst, LLP and is a former member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Judicial Process.
“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as the administrative judge for the last five years,” said Judge Beckstead. “I am very grateful for the support and superb work of my judicial colleagues and the excellent court staff during my term as administrative judge. I look forward to resuming my duties as presiding judge of Drug Court and my other judicial functions. I am delighted that Judge Sarbanes, with whom I am working closely to ensure a smooth transition, will be the beneficiary of that same excellence and support in the years to come.”
Judge Sarbanes earned a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law in 1999 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Salisbury University in 1993. He served as a law clerk to Judge Daniel M. Long, Circuit Court for Somerset County, and Judge Dale R. Cathell (ret.) of the Court of Appeals. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and as President of Life Crisis Center, an organization serving individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. In addition, Judge Sarbanes served as vice president of the Wicomico County Optimist Club and is a member of the Salisbury Elks Club. He is active as a baseball coach with Fruitland Little League and Man Up and also coaches football with the Fruitland Falcons.