Washington County Attorney Kirk Downey appointed to bench after deadly shooting of former judge

30 January 2024- Governor Wes Moore today announced the appointment of Kirk C. Downey to the Washington County Circuit Court. Downey will fill the position formerly held by Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was killed on October 19, 2023 at his home in Hagerstown.

“This is a bittersweet moment,” said Gov. Moore. “Today, we thank and celebrate Kirk C. Downey for raising his hand to serve. The Washington County Circuit Court has gained a talented legal mind and a faithful officer of the law. At the same time, we also remember the life and legacy of Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was taken from us far too soon. Judge Wilkinson made our state more fair and more just – and now, it’s up to us to stand together to carry forward his work.”

Kirk C. Downey has served as Washington County Attorney since December 2018 and has served at the County Attorney’s Office for the majority of his 27-year legal career. As Washington County Attorney, he served as general counsel to the local government, for which his litigation practice included administrative proceedings and appeals, mandamus proceedings, and arbitrations, in addition to general litigation in the district, circuit, and appellate courts.

Prior to joining the County Attorney’s Office, Downey worked for eight years as a solo general practitioner, where he did a significant amount of criminal defense, including appointed work on behalf of the Public Defender’s Office. He also represented individuals in consumer bankruptcy cases, employment law disputes, protective order and peace order hearings, and handled small business matters and general civil litigation. 

Downey is a lifelong Washington County resident. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1997, and he holds a B.A. from Duke University and J.D. from the University of RIchmond School of Law.