AUGUSTA, Maine — Without debate or comment, the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend the Senate confirm District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz to a second seven-year term.

Moskowitz issued a controversial, illegal gag order on the media during a criminal proceeding in January in Portland, only to rescind it under fire two days later.

“Like all people, I make mistakes,” Moskowitz told the committee Thursday during a hearing on his reappointment. “You are all aware of my error issuing a controversial order. I sincerely regretted making that mistake. But I view my mistakes as a clear opportunity to learn and improve.”

Moskowitz declined to comment after the vote.

Moskowitz was appointed to the District Court bench in January 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci after work as a prosecutor with the York County district attorney’s office. Gov. Paul LePage renominated Moskowitz to the bench in April.

The vote on Moskowitz was delayed until Tuesday to give committee members time to gather more information, chairman Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, said Thursday.

That information included a letter from the judge in which he refuted concerns expressed by Portland lawyer Matthew Nichols in a letter sent to the Judiciary Committee before the hearing last week.

Nichols said in a telephone interview Tuesday that Moskowitz was an excellent and fair prosecutor but as a judge often favored prosecutors.

In his letter to lawmakers, Nichols cited a case letter concerning a serious drunken driving crash that resulted in injuries and an operating under the influence of intoxicants charge.

“We had carefully worked out a plea agreement over 11 months in the OUI case,” Nichols said. “We went into chambers to discuss it with us, and he didn’t allow a chance to explain why we were proposing it. He lost his cool.”

Moskowitz denied that in his letter.

“Contrary to his assertion, although I expressed concerns at the specifics of the agreement, given the facts of the case, I conducted myself in a professional and appropriate manner,” the judge wrote.

“I listened to the explanation, and I listened to the victim who was opposed to the agreement. I determined that I could not, in good conscience, accept the agreement in light of the serious nature of the offense,” Moskowitz said.

While Nichols was the only lawyer who submitted a letter to committee members, defense lawyers Darrick Banda of Augusta, Seth Berner of Portland and William Bly of Biddeford agree with Nichols’ assessment that Moskowitz favors prosecutors.

Bly said that some of Moskowitz’s sentences have been too severe and “draconian.”

“I don’t find that his sentences are tempered with mercy,” he said.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson and prosecutors on her staff submitted a letter Tuesday in support of Moskowitz.

“Based on our experience, any concern that he is biased toward the prosecution is unwarranted, unfounded and, from our view, a misguided character assassination based on ‘sour grapes,’” Anderson wrote.

Nichols said that his concerns were about Moskowitz’s work on the bench, not his character.

“I like Jeff personally,” Nichols said. “My hope is that he will listen more to the attorneys in his courtroom. I’m hoping this experience makes him a better judge.”

Members of the legal community spoke last week in Moskowitz’s favor. However, several people who had appeared before him in court on family matters urged the committee to oppose his reappointment. The judge had ruled against all members of the public who addressed the committee.

Jerome Collins, who is active in the grass-roots organization Maine GAL Alert, issued a statement after the vote criticizing the Maine State Bar Association, which endorsed Moskowitz. He accused committee members of “abandoning the public” and not giving their concerns the weight given to the legal community.

“From start to finish, the Moskowitz reappointment was about the ‘power players’ in the Maine Bar,” he said. “These ‘powers’ use this court to further their interest, and they wish to have no interference from public users and ‘pro se’ [self represented litigants] in the Moskowitz court. To that end, bar special interests moved strategically to silence, intimidate and discredit public opponents.”

The Senate has not scheduled a vote on Moskowitz’s reappointment.

On Tuesday morning, senators reconfirmed Superior Court Justice Roland Cole, District Court Judge Susan Sparaco and District Court Judge Peter Goranites. Goranites is retired but will continue to hear cases on a part-time basis.