PITTSFIELD, Mass. (State House News Service) – Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday tapped a Worcester prosecutor and a Pittsfield judge for seats on the Appeals Court that are set to open up later this fall.

Christopher Hodgens has worked as a Worcester County assistant district attorney since 1995, according to his resume, prosecuting “hundreds of major felonies” in the District and Superior courts and arguing appellate cases up to the Supreme Judicial Court. The 1992 New England School of Law graduate was chief of the Worcester DA’s Appeals Division for five years.

He has led the office’s Litigation Integrity Division since 2018, a role in which he “establish[es] professional and ethical trial standards, provide[s] continuing legal education, and investigate[s] compliance issues involving prosecutors and police officers.” If confirmed, Hodgens would fill the Appeals Court seat that Judge James Lemire is expected to depart on Nov. 30.

The second nominee, Judge Paul Hart Smyth, is currently first justice of Pittsfield District Court. He would take the seat of Appeals Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder, who is set to retire Dec. 1, according to the governor’s nomination letter. Smyth, a former federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s Springfield office, was confirmed to the District Court in 2014. He earlier worked as a Suffolk County prosecutor and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Marshall Islands.

The Governor’s Council, which takes final votes on judicial appointments, plans to interview both candidates on the morning of Nov. 2.