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Baker picks 2 for Superior Court bench

A career prosecutor and a career defense lawyer are Gov. Charlie Baker's latest picks for the Superior Court bench.

Baker on Wednesday nominated Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Dunigan and criminal defense sole practitioner Christopher Belezos to the court that has jurisdiction over first-degree murder cases.

Dunigan has prosecuted cases in Middlesex County since 1996, the same year she graduated from New England School of Law, working under DAs Thomas Reilly, Martha Coakley, Gerry Leone and Marian Ryan. She has spent the last 12 years as chief of the office's Superior Court operations in the Malden region, according to her resume.

Belezos' practice focuses on criminal defense and also includes "a small amount" of immigration and business law, according to a resume. A 1990 Northeastern Law graduate, his resume says he handles cases in the Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester courts, and the U.S. District Court in Boston.

Dunigan would fill the vacancy left by Judge Janice Howe, who served from 2018 to 2022 before hitting the judicial mandatory retirement age of 70. Belezos is nominated to the vacancy left by Judge Robert Cosgrove, who was confirmed to the bench in January 2007 in Gov. Mitt Romney's final batch of judicial nominees.

The governor on Wednesday also tapped Mary Gallant-Cote of Belchertown, a Springfield-based assistant regional legal counsel for the Department of Children and Families, to serve as clerk magistrate of the Berkshire Juvenile Court.

Gallant-Cote earned her juris doctor from Western New England School of Law in 2007 and previously worked as a sole practitioner in Springfield. If confirmed by the Governor's Council, she would take over for Laura Rueli, a 1996 Gov. William Weld appointee, who left the post in 2019.

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