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Maryland Court of Special Appeals

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Maryland Court of Special Appeals
Court information
Judges:   15
Founded:   1966
Location:   Annapolis, Md.
Salary:   $154,000[1]
Judicial selection
Method:   Assisted appointment with Senate confirmation
Term:   10 years

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Maryland. The Court of Special Appeals was established in 1966 to assist the Maryland Court of Appeals with the appellate caseload. It is located in the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis, Md.[2][3]


The judges of the Court of Special Appeals usually sit in panels of three to hear cases. A hearing with the full court is possible, but only on a majority vote of the sitting judges.

JudgeTermAppointed by
Chief judge Peter Krauser2000-2020Gov. Parris N. Glendening
Judge Deborah S. Eyler1997-2018Gov. Parris N. Glendening
Judge Timothy Meredith2004-2016Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Judge Patrick Woodward2005-2016Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Judge Robert Zarnoch2008-2018Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Alexander Wright2008-2020Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Kathryn Graeff2008-2020Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Christopher Kehoe2009-2020Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Michele D. Hotten2010-2022Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Stuart R. Berger2011-2022Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Michael Wilson Reed2014-2024Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Andrea M. Leahy-Fucheck2014-2024Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Dan Friedman2014-2016Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Kevin Francis Arthur2014-2024Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Douglas R. M. Nazarian2013-2024Gov. Martin O'Malley

Judicial circuits

There are eight judges elected at-large and one judge elected from each of the state's seven appellate judicial circuits.[4] The circuits are currently designated as follows:

Maryland Judicial Circuits

Circuit Counties
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
6 Baltimore City
7 Montgomery County

Judicial selection

Seal of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Judges are appointed to serve ten-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 in a retention election. If the judge is retained, he or she will serve another ten-year term. Maryland mandates that judges retire when they reach the age of 70.[4]


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."[5]

Chief judge

The chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals is selected by the governor.[4]


The Court of Special Appeals has exclusive initial appellate jurisdiction to review judgments and orders issued by any of the state's circuit or orphans' courts. The lone exception is cases involving the death penalty; those go straight to the Maryland Court of Appeals.[4]

Alternative Dispute Resolution Division

In February 2010, the Court of Special Appeals created an alternative dispute resolution division, in which cases are mediated rather than heard before the court. The chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals is the administrative head of this division. Every civil case filed with the court is first reviewed to see if it has potential to be mediated. When a case is mediated, both sides sit down with an objective third-party who guides the parties to a resolution of the case without the need for judicial intervention. Mediation is beneficial for not only the court, but also the parties involved in the case. Appeals can be protracted and can be quite expensive.[4]



JudgeElection Vote
ReedMichael Wilson Reed 87.8% ApprovedA
NazarianDouglas R. M. Nazarian 79.3% ApprovedA
JudgeElection Vote
Leahy-FucheckAndrea M. Leahy-Fucheck 85.8% ApprovedA
ArthurKevin Francis Arthur 84.8% ApprovedA


The Court of Special Appeals is the modern-day equivalent of the Maryland General Court, which was formed during the Revolutionary War. That court heard appeals from county courts in Maryland and served as an intermediate court. There were two sections of the court, the Western Shore and the Eastern Shore, that split the caseload by geography.[6]

Upon the abolition of the General Court in 1806, however, the only appellate court in Maryland was the Maryland Court of Appeals, the court of last resort. There was no intermediate appellate court. In 1966, the Maryland Legislature created the Court of Special Appeals as an intermediate appellate court to help with the Court of Appeals' caseload.[4]


In 2014, the Court of Special Appeals spent $9,937,230. Its anticipated 2015 expenditures total $10,535,044.[7]

See also

External links


MarylandMaryland Court of AppealsMaryland Court of Special AppealsMaryland District CourtsMaryland Circuit CourtsMaryland Orphans' CourtUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MarylandUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitMaryland countiesMaryland judicial newsMaryland judicial electionsJudicial selection in MarylandMarylandTemplate.jpg