Maryland Court of Appeals

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Maryland Court of Appeals
Court information
Justices:   7
Founded:   1776
Location:   Annapolis, Maryland
Chief:  $186,000
Associates:  $167,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Assisted appointment
Term:   10 years
Active justices

Lynne Battaglia  •  Clayton Greene  •  Glenn T. Harrell, Jr.  •  Sally Adkins  •  Mary Ellen Barbera  •  Shirley Marie Watts  •  Robert N. McDonald  •  

Seal of Maryland.png

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, Annapolis. The term of the court begins the second Monday of September.


Judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals

The court is composed of one chief judge and six associate judges. Unlike most other states, the jurists on the Maryland Court of Appeals are called judges, not justices.[1]

The Maryland Court of Appeals has 7 judges.
JudgeTermAppointed byParty
Judge Lynne Battaglia2001-2022Gov. Parris Glendening
Judge Clayton Greene2004-2016Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr.1999-2020Gov. Parris N. Glendening
Judge Sally Adkins2008-2018Gov. Martin O'Malley
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera2009-2020Gov. Martin O'Malley
Judge Shirley Marie Watts2013-2024Gov. Martin O'MalleyDemocratic
Judge Robert N. McDonald2011-2022Gov. 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 as follows:

Maryland Court of Appeals 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

Judges are appointed to serve ten-year terms by the Governor of the state, with the consent of the senate. At least one year after the appointment, the judge must run without opposition. If the judge is retained, he will serve a ten-year term, and all judges must retire by their 70th birthday.[2]


"The Judges of the court are required to be citizens of and qualified voters in Maryland. Prior to their appointment, they must have resided in Maryland for at least five years, and for at least six months in the appellate judicial circuit from which they are appointed. They must be at least thirty years of age at the time of appointment, and must have been admitted to practice law in Maryland. Appointees should be "most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge."

Chief judge

The chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals is selected by the governor, and serves as the administrative head of the state's judicial system, according to the Constitution of Maryland.[3]


Throughout the year, the court of appeals holds hearings on "the adoption or amendment of rules of practice and procedure and supervises the Attorney Grievance Commission and State Board of Law Examiners in attorney disciplinary and admission matters."[3] The court of appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over death penalty appeals, legislative redistricting, removal of some officers, and is responsible for answering broad legal questions.[3]


Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2014 106 153
2013 124 109
2012 128 173
2011 138 161
2010 143 140
2009 176 98
2008 165 135
2007 148 176


Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

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.[5]

Notable decisions


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

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.[9]

Removal of justices

Maryland judges may be 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 off this recommendation, the court of appeals makes the final decision.[10]


The Maryland Court of Appeals was created in 1776 with the ratification of the Maryland Constitution. Specifically, the court was created by Article 56 of the constitution. The court was to be "composed of persons of integrity and sound judgment in the law, whose judgment shall be final and conclusive in all cases of appeal, from the general court, court of chancery, and court of admiralty . . ." Since it's conception, the Governor has appointed all judges in the state. In 1778, five judges held court, but in 1801, the number was reduced by two. In 1806, the court restructured with six judicial districts--a Chief Judge and two associate judges per district. The constitution was amended in 1851 to divide the state by four judicial districts, and judges were to serve ten-year terms. The constitution was amended several times, but by 1960, the number of justices increased to seven, the size of the current court.

See also

External links


Portions of this article have been taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.

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


JudgeElection Vote
WattsShirley Marie Watts 88.4% ApprovedA


JudgeIncumbencyRetention voteRetention Vote %
BattagliaLynne Battaglia   ApprovedAYes313,78286.2%ApprovedA
BellRobert M. Bell   ApprovedAYes179,71886.9%ApprovedA
McDonaldRobert N. McDonald   ApprovedAYes348,45984.1%ApprovedA