Maryland Court of Appeals
|Maryland Court of Appeals|
The Maryland Court of Appeals is the court of last resort in Maryland. The court meets in the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in the state capital, which is Annapolis, Md. The term of the court begins the second Monday of September.
The court is composed of one chief judge and six associate judges.The Maryland Court of Appeals has 7 judges.
|Judge Lynne Battaglia||2001-2022||Gov. Parris N. Glendening|
|Judge Clayton Greene||2004-2016||Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.|
|Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr.||1999-2020||Gov. Parris N. Glendening|
|Judge Sally Adkins||2008-2018||Gov. Martin O'Malley|
|Chief judge Mary Ellen Barbera||2009-2020||Gov. Martin O'Malley|
|Judge Shirley Marie Watts||2013-2024||Gov. Martin O'Malley||Democratic|
|Judge Robert N. McDonald||2011-2022||Gov. Martin O'Malley|
There is one judge from each of the state's seven appellate judicial circuits, and each judge is required to be a resident of his or her respective circuit. The circuits are currently set up as follows:
Maryland Court of Appeals Judicial Circuits
|1||Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico & Worcester counties|
|2||Baltimore County & Harford County|
|3||Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard & Washington counties|
|4||Prince George's County|
|5||Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles & St. Mary's counties|
Judges are appointed to serve 10-year terms by the governor of the state and must be confirmed by the Maryland Senate before taking office. At least one year after the appointment, the judge must run without opposition in a retention election. If the judge is retained, he or she will serve another 10-year term. Maryland has a mandatory retirement age for all judges, which is their 70th birthday.
Court of Appeals judges must be:
- citizens and qualified voters of Maryland;
- residents of the state for at least five years
- residents of the appellate judicial circuit to which they are appointed for at least the prior six months;
- 30 years of age at the time of appointment;
- admitted to practice law in Maryland; and
- "most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge."
The Court of Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over death penalty appeals, cases involving legislative redistricting, issues concerning removal of elected officials and is responsible for answering broad legal questions. The court has authority to make administrative, practical and procedural rules, all of which have "the force of law." The Court of Appeals is also responsible for determining admission to the state bar and is in charge of disciplinary proceedings for ethical and legal violations by lawyers and the judiciary.
|Shirley Marie Watts||88.4%|
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Maryland was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Maryland received a score of -0.44. Based on the justices selected, Maryland was the 10th most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
Removal of justices
Maryland judges may be removed in four different ways:
- A judge may be removed by the governor upon the address of the general assembly and the agreement of two thirds of each house.
- A judge may be retired by the general assembly with a two-thirds vote of each house and the governor's concurrence.
- A majority vote of the house of delegates and a conviction by two thirds of the senate is necessary to impeach a judge.
- The commission on judicial disabilities may recommend the removal of a judge. Based on this recommendation, the Court of Appeals makes the final decision.
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Maryland earned a grade of C in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
| • Maryland legislature seeks to mitigate pit bull ruling (2013)||Click for summary→|
|In 2013, the Maryland Court of Appeals handed down a ruling that declared all pit bulls were dangerous. The ruling made pit bull owners responsible for any harm done by their dogs and also made landlords responsible for the dogs of their tenants. This meant that in some instances of attack or other damage, two parties would be held fully responsible. The ruling spurred many pet surrenders and abandonments, as some landlords sought to remove pit bulls from their rental properties and other pet owners worried about liability. The ruling has increased the number of pit bulls in the shelter and rescue system, while simultaneously making pit bulls harder to adopt. Mitigation of the court ruling through legislation has become a popular cause among the public, with Democratic Representative Luiz R.S. Simmons noting that he has received more emails about this topic than any other during his time in office. An emergency bill, filed in the Maryland House of Representatives by two lawmakers on January 17, 2013, promises to spread responsibility for harm caused by all dogs equitably. The sponsors of the bill note that it is intended to be fair to landlords, dog owners and dog bite victims. The new bill would pertain to all dogs, unlike the Court of Appeals ruling which covers only pit bulls. Two similar bills were introduced in emergency sessions in the House and Senate last year, but both failed to pass.|
- The Maryland Court of Appeals was created in 1776 when the Maryland Constitution was ratified. Article 56 of that document laid out the court.
- In 1778, the court was remodeled to five judges.
- In 1801, the court was reduced to just three judges.
- In 1806, the court restructured again, this time creating the six judicial districts. Now the court had a chief judge and two associate judges per district.
- A constitutional amendment in 1851 divided the state into four judicial districts; each district elected one judge to serve on the court. Further, the amendment proscribed a term of 10 years for each judge. The court was then given exclusive appellate jurisdiction and a permanent seat from which to hear cases, Annapolis.
- The 1864 amendment created five judicial districts and five judges to serve on the court.
- In 1867, however, the court returned to a mixed trial and appellate court makeup. There were now eight judicial districts. The governor was given authority to select a chief judge, whom the Maryland Senate had to confirm, for each of the seven districts. In the eighth district, which was Baltimore, the voters selected a chief judge. These eight chief judges sat on the court.
- The next change occurred in 1943, when the court went back to a five-judge model where each was elected for terms of 15 years.
- In 1960, the number of judges on the court increased to seven, which is the current amount.
- Robert M. Bell, 6th Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Dale R. Cathell, 1st Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Howard S. Chasanow, 4th Appellate Judicial Circuit
- John C. Eldridge, 5th Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Robert L. Karwacki, 1st Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Joseph F. Murphy, Jr., 2nd Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Robert C. Murphy, 2nd Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Irma S. Raker, 7th Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Lawrence F. Rodowsky, 3rd Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Alan M. Wilner, 2nd Appellate Judicial Circuit
- Courts in Maryland
- News: Maryland Court of Appeals to hear ballot access case, January 31, 2012
- News: Maryland changes judicial rules to protect consumers from unjust debt collection, January 13, 2012
- News: Maryland court declares old law unconstitutional in lead paint case, October 28, 2011
- Maryland Court of Appeals
- Information from the Maryland Archives
- Maryland Constitution, "Article IV: Judiciary Department"
- The Archives of Maryland, " Judicial Records"
- Maryland Courts, "Maryland Court of Appeals," accessed April 21, 2015
- Maryland Manual, "Court of Appeals," accessed April 21, 2015
- Court of Appeals, "Origin and Functions"
- Maryland Manual, "Constitution of Maryland, Article IV, Judiciary Department, Sections 3 and 5," accessed April 21, 2015
- Maryland Manual, "Constitution of Maryland, Article IV, Judiciary Department, Section 2" accessed April 21, 2015
- Maryland Manual, "Constitution of Maryland, Article IV, Judiciary Department, Section 14," accessed April 21, 2015
- Maryland State Courts, "Publications"
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Selection: Removal of Judges," accessed April 25, 2015
- Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
- Herald Mail, "Annapolis legislation seeks to overturn court ruling on pit bulls," January 17, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Maryland legislators reach compromise on pit bull legislation," January 17, 2013
- The Daily Record, "Compromise bill crafted to address pit bull ruling," January 17, 2013
|Former||Robert M. Bell • Irma Raker • Dale Cathell • Joseph Murphy (Maryland) • Simon Sobeloff • Robert C. Murphy •|