Article IV, Maryland Constitution

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Declaration of RightsIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXI-AXI-BXI-CXI-DXI-EXI-FXI-GXI-HXI-IXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIX

Contents

Article IV of the Maryland Constitution is entitled Judiciary Department and consists of seven parts.

Part I: General Provisions

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

The Judicial power of this State is vested in a Court of Appeals, such intermediate courts of appeal as the General Assembly may create by law, Circuit Courts, Orphans' Courts, and a District Court. These Courts shall be Courts of Record, and each shall have a seal to be used in the authentication of all process issuing from it.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 1A

Text of Section 1A:

The several Courts existing in this State at the time of the adoption of this Constitution shall, until superseded under its provisions, continue with like powers and jurisdiction, and in the exercise thereof, both at Law and in Equity, in all respects, as if this Constitution had not been adopted; and when said Courts shall be so superseded, all causes, then depending in said Courts, shall pass into the jurisdiction of the several Courts, by which they may, respectively, be superseded.[1]

Amendments

  • Transferred from Article XV, Section 2, and amended by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

The Judges of all of the said Courts shall be citizens of the State of Maryland, and qualified voters under this Constitution, and shall have resided therein not less than five years, and not less than six months next preceding their election, or appointment, as the case may be, in the city, county, district, judicial circuit, intermediate appellate judicial circuit or appellate judicial circuit for which they may be, respectively, elected, or appointed. They shall be not less than thirty years of age at the time of their election or appointment, and shall be selected from those who have been admitted to practice law in this State, and who are most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Except for Judges of the District Court, the Judges of the several Courts other than the Court of Appeals or any intermediate courts of appeal shall, subject to the provisions of Section 5 of this Article of the Constitution, be elected in Baltimore City and in each county, by the qualified voters of the city and of each county, respectively, all of the said Judges to be elected at the general election to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as now provided for in the Constitution. Each of the said Judges shall hold his office for the term of fifteen years from the time of his election, and until his successor is elected and qualified, or until he shall have attained the age of seventy years, whichever may first happen, and be re-eligible thereto until he shall have attained the age of seventy years, and not after. In case of the inability of any of said Judges to discharge his duties with efficiency, by reason of continued sickness, or of physical or mental infirmity, it shall be in the power of the General Assembly, two-thirds of the members of each House concurring, with the approval of the Governor to retire said Judge from office.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 479, Acts of 1931, on November 8, 1932.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 607, Acts of 1953, on November 2, 1954.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 542, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 3A

Text of Section 3A:

(a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, any former judge, except a former judge of the Orphans' Court, may be assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, upon approval of a majority of the court, to sit temporarily in any court of this State, except an Orphans' Court, as provided by law.

(2)(i) a retired judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County that sits as the Orphans' Court for Montgomery County may be assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, upon approval of a majority of the Court of Appeals, to do an act that a judge of the Orphans' Court for Montgomery County is authorized to perform.

(ii) a retired judge of the Circuit Court for Harford County that sits as the Orphans' Court for Harford County may be assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, upon approval of a majority of the Court of Appeals, to do an act that a judge of the Orphans' Court for Harford County is authorized to perform.

(b) The provisions of this section apply, not withstanding provisions appearing elsewhere in this Article pertaining to retirement of judges upon attaining age 70[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 546, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 323, Acts of 1998, on November 3, 1998.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Any Judge shall be removed from office by the Governor, on conviction in a Court of Law, of incompetency, of willful neglect of duty, misbehavior in office, or any other crime, or on impeachment, according to this Constitution, or the Laws of the State; or on the address of the General Assembly, two-thirds of each House concurring in such address, and the accused having been notified of the charges against him, and having had opportunity of making his defence.[1]

Section 4A

Text of Section 4A:

(a) There is a Commission on Judicial Disabilities composed of eleven persons appointed by the Governor of Maryland, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(b) The members of the Commission shall be citizens and residents of this State.

(c)

(1) Three members of the Commission shall be appointed from among the judges of the State, with one member representing the appellate courts, one member representing the circuit courts, and one member representing District Court.
(2) Three members shall be appointed from among those persons who are admitted to practice law in the State, who have been so engaged for at least seven years, and who are not judges of any court.
(3) Five members shall represent the public, who may not be active or retired judges, who are not admitted to practice law in this State, and who may not have a financial relationship with or receive compensation from a judge or a person admitted to practice law in this State.
(4) The composition of the Commission should reflect the race, gender, and geographic diversity of the population of the State.

(d) The term of office of each member is four years commencing on January 1 following the expiration of the member's predecessor's term. A member may not serve more than two four-year terms, or for more than a total of ten years if appointed to fill a vacancy.

(e) A member's membership automatically terminates:

(1) When any member of the Commission appointed from among judges in the State ceases to be a judge;
(2) When any member appointed from among those admitted to practice law becomes a judge;
(3) When any member representing the public becomes a judge or is admitted to the practice of law in this State or has a financial relationship with or receives compensation from a judge or a person admitted to practice law in this State; or
(4) When any member ceases to be a resident of the State.

(f) Any vacancies on the Commission shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Governor in the same manner as for making of appointments to the Commission and subject to the same qualifications which were applicable to the person causing the vacancy.

(g) A member of the Commission may not receive any compensation for the member's services as such but shall be allowed any expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of the member's duties as such a member.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 773, Acts of 1965, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.
  • Amended with the approval of Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission, Question 1 (1996) on November 5, 1996.

Section 4B

Text of Section 4B:

(a)

(1) The Commission on Judicial Disabilities has the power to:
(i) investigate complaints against any judge of the Court of Appeals, any intermediate courts of appeal, the Circuit Courts, the District Court of Maryland, or the Orphans' Court; and
(ii) conduct hearings concerning such complaints, administer oaths and affirmations, issue process to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence, and require persons to testify and produce evidence by granting them immunity from prosecution or from penalty or forfeiture.
(2) The Commission has the power to issue a reprimand and the power to recommend to the Court of Appeals the removal, censure or other appropriate disciplining of a judge or, in an appropriate case, retirement.
(3) All proceedings, testimony, and evidence before the Commission shall be confidential and privileged, except as provided by rule of the Court of Appeals; the record and any proceeding filed with the Court of Appeals shall lose its confidential character, except as ordered by the Court of Appeals.
(4) No judge shall participate as a member of the Commission in any proceedings involving that judge's own conduct, and the Governor shall appoint another judge as a substitute member of the Commission for those proceedings.
(5) The Court of Appeals shall prescribe by rule the means to implement and enforce the powers of the Commission and the practice and procedure before the Commission.

(b)

(1) Upon any recommendation of the Commission, the Court of Appeals, after a hearing and upon a finding of misconduct while in office, or of persistent failure to perform the duties of the office, or of conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice, may remove the judge from office or may censure or otherwise discipline the judge, or the Court of Appeals, after hearing and upon a finding of disability which is or is likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of the judge's duties, may retire the judge from office.
(2) A judge removed under this section, and the judge's surviving spouse, shall have the rights and privileges accruing from the judge's judicial service only to the extent prescribed by the order of removal.
(3) A judge retired under this section shall have the rights and privileges prescribed by law for other retired judges.
(4) No judge of the Court of Appeals shall sit in judgment in any hearing involving that judge's own conduct.

(c) This section is alternative to, and cumulative with, the methods of retirement and removal provided in Sections 3 and 4 of this Article, and in Section 26 of Article III of this Constitution.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 773, Acts of 1965, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 886, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.
  • Amended with the approval of Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission, Question 1 (1996) on November 5, 1996.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Upon every occurrence or recurrence of a vacancy through death, resignation, removal, disqualification by reason of age or otherwise, or expiration of the term of fifteen years of any judge of a circuit court, or creation of the office of any such judge, or in any other way, the Governor shall appoint a person duly qualified to fill said office, who shall hold the same until the election and qualification of his successor. His successor shall be elected at the first biennial general election for Representatives in Congress after the expiration of the term of fifteen years (if the vacancy occurred in that way) or the first such general election after one year after the occurrence of the vacancy in any other way than through expiration of such term. Except in case of reappointment of a judge upon expiration of his term of fifteen years, no person shall be appointed who will become disqualified by reason of age and thereby unable to continue to hold office until the prescribed time when his successor would have been elected.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 417, Acts of 1880, on November 8, 1881.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 772, Acts of 1943, on November 7, 1944.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 703, Acts of 1945, on November 5, 1946.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 551, Acts of 1975, on November 2, 1976.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 5A

Text of Section 5A:

(a) A vacancy in the office of a judge of an appellate court, whether occasioned by the death, resignation, removal, retirement, disqualification by reason of age, or rejection by the voters of an incumbent, the creation of the office of a judge, or otherwise, shall be filled as provided in this section.

(b) Upon the occurrence of a vacancy the Governor shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a person duly qualified to fill said office who shall hold the same until the election for continuance in office as provided in subsections (c) and (d).

(c) The continuance in office of a judge of the Court of Appeals is subject to approval or rejection by the registered voters of the appellate judicial circuit from which he was appointed at the next general election following the expiration of one year from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy which he was appointed to fill, and at the general election next occurring every ten years thereafter.

(d) The continuance in office of a judge of the Court of Special Appeals is subject to approval or rejection by the registered voters of the geographical area prescribed by law at the next general election following the expiration of one year from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy which he was appointed to fill, and at the general election next occurring every ten years thereafter.

(e) The approval or rejection by the registered voters of a judge as provided for in subsections (c) and (d) shall be a vote for the judge's retention in office for a term of ten years or his removal. The judge's name shall be on the appropriate ballot, without opposition, and the voters shall vote yes or no for his retention in office. If the voters reject the retention in office of a judge, or if the vote is tied, the office becomes vacant ten days after certification of the election returns.

(f) An appellate court judge shall retire when he attains his seventieth birthday.

(g) A member of the General Assembly who is otherwise qualified for appointment to judicial office is not disqualified by reason of his membership in a General Assembly which proposed or enacted any constitutional amendment or statute affecting the method of selection. Continuance in office, or retirement or removal of a judge, the creation or abolition of a court, an increase or decrease in the number of judges of any court, or an increase or decrease in the salary, pension or other allowances of any judge.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 551, Acts of 1975, on November 2, 1976.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

All Judges shall, by virtue of their offices, be Conservators of the Peace throughout the State; and no fees, or perquisites, commission, or reward of any kind shall be allowed to any Judge in this State, besides his annual salary, for the discharge of any Judicial duty.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

No Judge shall sit in any case wherein he may be interested, or where either of the parties may be connected with him, by affinity or consanguinity, within such degrees as now are, or may hereafter be prescribed by Law, or where he shall have been of counsel in the case.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

(a) The parties to any cause may submit the same to the Court for determination without the aid of a jury.

(b) In all cases of presentments or indictments for offenses that are punishable by death, on suggestion in writing under oath of either of the parties to the proceedings that the party cannot have a fair and impartial trial in the court in which the proceedings may be pending, the court shall order and direct the record of proceedings in the presentment or indictment to be transmitted to some other court having jurisdiction in such case for trial.

(c) In all other cases of presentment or indictment, and in all suits or actions at law or issues from the Orphans' Court pending in any of the courts of law in this State which have jurisdiction over the cause or case, in addition to the suggestion in writing of either of the parties to the cause or case that the party cannot have a fair and impartial trial in the court in which the cause or case may be pending, it shall be necessary for the party making the suggestion to make it satisfactorily appear to the court that the suggestion is true, or that there is reasonable ground for the same; and thereupon the court shall order and direct the record of the proceedings in the cause or case to be transmitted to some other court, having jurisdiction in the cause or case, for trial. The right of removal also shall exist on suggestion in a cause or case in which all the judges of the court may be disqualified under the provisions of this Constitution to sit. The court to which the record of proceedings in such suit or action, issue, presentment or indictment is transmitted, shall hear and determine that cause or case in the same manner as if it had been originally instituted in that court. The General Assembly shall modify the existing law as may be necessary to regulate and give force to this provision.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 364, Acts of 1874, on November 2, 1875.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 524, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

The Judge, or Judges of any Court, may appoint such officers for their respective Courts as may be found necessary. The General Assembly may provide, by Law, for compensation for all such officers; and the said Judge or Judges shall, from time to time, investigate the expenses, costs and charges of their respective courts, with a view to a change or reduction thereof, and report the result of such investigation to the General Assembly for its action.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

(a)

(1) The Clerks of the Courts shall have charge and custody of records and other papers and shall perform all the duties which appertain to their offices, as are regulated by Law.
(2) The office and business of the Clerks, in all their departments, shall be subject to and governed in accordance with rules adopted by the Court of Appeals pursuant to Section 18 of this article.

(b) The offices of the Clerks shall be funded through the State budget. All fees, commissions, or other revenues established by Law for these offices shall be State revenues, unless provided otherwise by the General Assembly.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 722, Acts of 1986, on November 4, 1986.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 62, Acts of 1990, on November 6, 1990.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

The election for Judges, herein before provided, and all elections for Clerks, Registers of Wills, and other officers, provided in this Constitution, except State's Attorneys, shall be certified, and the returns made, by the Clerks of the Circuit Courts of the Counties, and the Clerk of the Superior Court of Baltimore City, respectively, to the Governor, who shall issue commissions to the different persons for the offices to which they shall have been, respectively, elected; and in all such elections for offices other than judges of an appellate court, the person having the greatest number of votes, shall be declared to be elected.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 551, Acts of 1975, on November 2, 1976.

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

In case of any contested election for Judges, Clerks of the Courts of Law, and Registers of Wills, the Governor shall send the returns to the House of Delegates, which shall judge of the election and qualification of the candidates at such election; and if the judgment shall be against the one who has been returned elected, or the one who has been commissioned by the Governor, the House of Delegates shall order a new election within thirty days.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

All Public Commissions and Grants shall run thus: "The State of Maryland, etc.," and shall be signed by the Governor, with the Seal of the State annexed; all writs and process shall run in the same style, and be tested, sealed and signed, as heretofore, or as may hereafter be, provided by Law; and all indictments shall conclude, "against the peace, government and dignity of the State."[1]

Section 13A

Text of Section 13A:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 796, Acts of 1943, on November 7, 1944.
  • Repealed by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Part II: Courts of Appeal

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

The Court of Appeals shall be composed of seven judges, one from the First Appellate Judicial Circuit consisting of Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties; one from the Second Appellate Judicial Circuit consisting of Baltimore and Harford counties; one from the Third Appellate Judicial Circuit, consisting of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Washington counties; one from the Fourth Appellate Judicial Circuit, consisting of Prince George's County; one from the Fifth Appellate Judicial Circuit, consisting of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties; one from the Sixth Appellate Judicial Circuit, consisting of Baltimore City; and one from the Seventh Appellate Judicial Circuit, consisting of Montgomery County. The Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be residents of their respective Appellate Judicial Circuits. The term of each Judge of the Court of Appeals shall begin on the date of his qualification. One of the Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be designated by the Governor as the Chief Judge. The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals shall be co-extensive with the limits of the State and such as now is or may hereafter be prescribed by law. It shall hold its sessions in the City of Annapolis at such time or times as it shall from time to time by rule prescribe. Its session or sessions shall continue not less than ten months in each year, if the business before it shall so require, and it shall be competent for the judges temporarily to transfer their sittings elsewhere upon sufficient cause. The salary of each Judge of the Court of Appeals shall be that now or hereafter prescribed by the General Assembly and shall not be diminished during his continuance in office. Five of the judges shall constitute a quorum, and five judges shall sit in each case unless the Court shall direct that an additional judge or judges sit for any case. The concurrence of a majority of those sitting shall be sufficient for the decision of any cause, and an equal division of those sitting in a case has the effect of affirming the decision appealed from if there is no application for reargument as hereinafter provided. In any case where there is an equal division or a three to two division of the Court a reargument before the full Court of seven judges shall be granted to the losing party upon application as a matter of right.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 772, Acts of 1943, on November 7, 1944.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 11, Acts of 1960, on November 8, 1960.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 551, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.
  • Amended with the approval of Maryland Appeals Court Circuit, Question 2 (1994) on November 8, 1994.

Section 14A

Text of Section 14A:

The General Assembly may by law create such intermediate courts of appeal as may be necessary. The General Assembly may prescribe the intermediate appellate jurisdiction of these courts of appeal, and all other powers necessary for the operation of such courts.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.

Section 14B

Text of Section 14B:

No member of the General Assembly at which the addition of Section 14A was proposed, if otherwise qualified, shall be ineligible for appointment or election as a judge of any intermediate court of appeal, established by law by the General Assembly pursuant to said Section 14A, by reason of his membership in such General Assembly.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Any judge of the Court of Appeals or of an intermediate court of appeal who heard the cause below either as a trial judge or as a judge of any intermediate court of appeal as the case may be, shall not participate in the decision. In every case an opinion, in writing, shall be filed within three months after the argument or submission of the cause; and the judgment of the Court of Appeals shall be final and conclusive.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Provision shall be made by Law for publishing Reports of all causes, argued and determined in the Court of Appeals and in the intermediate courts of appeal, which the judges thereof, respectively, shall designate as proper for publication.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

There shall be a Clerk of the Court of Appeals, who shall be appointed by and shall hold his office at the pleasure of said Court of Appeals.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 40, Acts of 1939, on November 5, 1940.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

(a) The Court of Appeals from time to time shall adopt rules and regulations concerning the practice and procedure in and the administration of the appellate courts and in the other courts of this State, which shall have the force of law until rescinded, changed or modified by the Court of Appeals or otherwise by law. The power of courts other than the Court of Appeals to make rules of practice and procedure, or administrative rules, shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted by the Court of Appeals or otherwise by law.

(b)

(1) The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall be the administrative head of the Judicial system of the State. The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall from time to time require, from each of the judges of the Circuit Courts, of the District Court and of any intermediate courts of appeal, reports as to the judicial work and business of each of the judges and their respective courts.
(2) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals may, in case of a vacancy, or of the illness, disqualification or other absence of a judge or for the purpose of relieving an accumulation of business in any court assign any judge except a judge of the Orphans' Court to sit temporarily in any court except an Orphans' Court.
(3) a retired judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County that sits as the Orphans' Court for Montgomery County may be assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, upon approval of a majority of the Court of Appeals, to do an act that a judge of the Orphans' Court for Montgomery County is authorized to perform.
(4) a retired judge of the Circuit Court for Harford County that sits as the Orphans' Court for Harford County may be assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, upon approval of a majority of the Court of Appeals, to do an act that a judge of the Orphans' Court for Harford County is authorized to perform.
(5) Any judge assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals pursuant to this section has all the power and authority pertaining to a judge of the court to which the judge is so assigned; and the judge's power and authority shall continue with respect to all cases (including any motion, or other matters incidental thereto) which may come before the judge by virtue of such assignment until the judge's action thereon shall be completed. In the absence of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the provisions of this section shall be applicable to the senior judge present in the Court of Appeals. The powers of the Chief Judge set forth in this section shall be subject to any rule or regulation adopted by the Court of Appeals.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 772, Acts of 1943, on November 7, 1944.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 10, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.
  • Amended with the approval of Maryland Retired Judges Assignment Act, Question 2 (1998) on November 3, 1998.

Section 18A

Text of Section 18A:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Renumbered as Section 18 by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Part IIA: Interim Provisions

Section 18B

Text of Section 18B:

(a) For the purpose of implementing the amendments to this article, dealing with the selection and tenure of appellate court judges, the following provisions shall govern.

(b) Each judge of an appellate court who is in office for an elected term on the effective date of these amendments, unless he dies, resigns, retires, or is otherwise lawfully removed, shall continue in office until the general election next after the end of his elected term, or until his seventieth birthday, whichever first occurs. His continuance in office is then subject to the provisions of section 5A (c) and (d) of this article, applicable to judges of that court, but in no event shall any judge continue in office after his seventieth birthday.

(c) Each judge of a court specified in subsection (b) who is in office on the effective date of these amendments, but who has not been elected to that office by the voters, shall, within fifteen days after the effective date of these amendments, be reappointed to that office. His continuance in office is then subject to the provisions of section 5A (c) and (d) of this article, applicable to judges of that court, but in no event shall any judge continue in office after his seventieth birthday.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 551, Acts of 1975, on November 2, 1976.

Part III: Circuit Courts

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

The State shall be divided into eight Judicial Circuits, in manner following, viz.: The Counties of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Dorchester, shall constitute the First Circuit; the Counties of Caroline, Talbot, Queen Anne's, Kent and Cecil, the Second; the Counties of Baltimore and Harford, the Third; the Counties of Allegany, Garrett, and Washington, the Fourth; the Counties of Carroll, Howard and Anne Arundel, the Fifth; the Counties of Montgomery and Frederick, the Sixth; the Counties of Prince George's, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary's, the Seventh; and Baltimore City, the Eighth.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

(a) There shall be a Circuit Court for each County and for Baltimore City. The Circuit Courts shall have and exercise, in the respective counties, and Baltimore City, all the power, authority and jurisdiction, original and appellate, which the Circuit Courts of the counties exercised on the effective date of these amendments, and the greater or lesser jurisdiction hereafter prescribed by law.

(b) The judges of the Circuit Courts for Montgomery and Harford counties shall each, alternately and in rotation and on schedules to be established by those judges, sit as an Orphans' Court for their County, and shall have and exercise all the power, authority and jurisdiction which the present Orphans' Courts now have and exercise, or which may hereafter be provided by law.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 744, Acts of 1963, on November 3, 1964.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 374, Acts of 1972, on November 7, 1972.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

(a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) the General Assembly shall determine by law the number of judges of the circuit court in each county and circuit. These judges shall be selected in accordance with Sections 3 and 5 of this Article.

(b) There shall be at least four circuit court judges resident in each circuit, and at least one circuit court judge shall be resident in each county. There shall be at least two such judges resident in Anne Arundel County, at least three resident in Baltimore County, at least four resident in Prince George's County, and at least five resident in Montgomery County.

(c) The senior judge in length of service in each circuit shall be the chief judge of the circuit. The other judges shall be associate judges.

(d) Except as otherwise provided by law, one judge shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.

(e) The terms of the circuit courts shall be determined by law.

(f) A person is not ineligible for appointment or election as a judge because he was a member of the General Assembly at a time when the number or salary of judges were increased or decreased.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 515, Acts of 1912, on November 4, 1913.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 426, Acts of 1935, on November 3, 1936.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 494, Acts of 1937, on November 8, 1938.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 200, Acts of 1939, on November 5, 1940.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 494, Acts of 1941, on November 3, 1942.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 772, Acts of 1943, on November 7, 1944.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 607, Acts of 1953, on November 2, 1954.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapters 65 and 68, Acts of 1954, on November 2, 1954.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapters 642 and 761, Acts of 1959, on November 8, 1960.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 372, Acts of 1966, on November 8, 1966.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 542, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.

Section 21A

Text of Section 21A:

If the amendments to sections 3 and 21 of Article IV proposed by House Bill 972, Senate Bill 390 (1976), and the amendments to those sections proposed by House Bill 1048 (1976) are ratified by the voters at the election in Nov. 1976, the amendments to those sections proposed in House Bill 972, Senate Bill 390 (1976) shall take effect.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 542, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Where any Term is held, or trial conducted by less than three Circuit Judges, upon the decision or determination of any point, or question, by the Court, it shall be competent to the party, against whom the ruling or decision is made, upon motion, to have the point, or question reserved for the consideration of the three Judges of the Circuit, who shall constitute a court in banc for such purpose; and the motion for such reservation shall be entered of record, during the sitting, at which such decision may be made; and the procedure for appeals to the Circuit Court in banc shall be as provided by the Maryland Rules. The decision of the said Court in banc shall be the effective decision in the premises, and conclusive, as against the party at whose motion said points, or questions were reserved; but such decision in banc shall not preclude the right of Appeal by an adverse party who did not seek in banc review, in those cases, civil or criminal, in which appeal to the Court of Special Appeals may be allowed by Law. The right of having questions reserved shall not, however, apply to trials of Appeals from judgments of the District Court, nor to criminal cases below the grade of felony, except when the punishment is confinement in the Penitentiary; and this Section shall be subject to such provisions as may hereafter be made by Law.[1]

Amendments

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

The Judges of the respective Circuit Courts of this State shall render their decisions, in all cases argued before them, or submitted for their judgment, within two months after the same shall have been so argued or submitted.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

The salary of each Chief Judge and of each Associate Judge of the Circuit Court shall not be diminished during his continuance in office.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

There shall be a Clerk of the Circuit Court for each County and Baltimore City, who shall be elected by a plurality of the qualified voters of said County or City, and shall hold this office for four years from the time of his election, and until his successor is elected and qualified, and be re-eligible, subject to be removed for willful neglect of duty or other misdemeanor in office, on conviction in a Court of Law. In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk of a Circuit Court, the Judges of that Court may fill the vacancy until the general election for Delegates to the General Assembly, to be held next thereafter, when a successor shall be elected for the term of four years.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

Deputy clerks and other employees of the office of the Clerk shall be appointed and removed according to procedures set by law.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 376, Acts of 1972, on November 7, 1972.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 62, Acts of 1990, on November 6, 1990.

Part IV: Courts of Baltimore City

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 31A

Text of Section 31A:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 116, Acts of 1924, on November 2, 1926.
  • Repealed by Chapter 617, Acts of 1968, on November 5, 1968.

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 34

Text of Section 34:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 35

Text of Section 35:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 36

Text of Section 36:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Repealed by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 37

Text of Section 37:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 38

Text of Section 38:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Section 39

Text of Section 39:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 313, Acts of 1892, on November 7, 1893.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 889, Acts of 1974, on November 5, 1974.
  • Repealed by Chapter 523, Acts of 1980, on November 4, 1980.

Part V: Orphans' Court

Section 40

Text of Section 40:

(a) The qualified voters of the several Counties, except Montgomery County and Harford County, shall elect three Judges of the Orphans' Courts of Counties who shall be citizens of the State and residents, for the twelve months preceding, in the County for which they may be elected.

(b) The qualified voters of the City of Baltimore shall elect three Judges of the Orphans' Court for Baltimore City who shall be citizens of the State and residents, for the twelve months preceding, in Baltimore City and who have been admitted to practice law in this State and are members in good standing of the Maryland Bar.

(c) The qualified voters of Prince George's County shall elect three Judges of the Orphans' Court for Prince George's County who shall be citizens of the State and residents, for the twelve months preceding, in Prince George's County and who have been admitted to practice law in this State and are members in good standing of the Maryland Bar.

(d) The qualified voters of Baltimore County shall elect three Judges of the Orphans' Court for Baltimore County who shall be citizens of the State and residents, for the twelve months preceding, in Baltimore County and who have been admitted to practice law in this State and are members in good standing of the Maryland Bar.

(e) The Judges shall have all the powers now vested in the Orphans' Courts of the State, subject to such changes as the Legislature may prescribe.

(f) Each of the Judges shall be paid such compensation as may be regulated by Law, to be paid by the City or Counties, respectively.

(g) In case of a vacancy in the office of Judge of the Orphans' Court, the Governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation or rejection by the Senate, some suitable person to fill the vacancy for the residue of the term.[1]

Amendments

Section 41

Text of Section 41:

There shall be a Register of Wills in each county of the State, and the City of Baltimore, to be elected by the legal and qualified voters of said counties and city, respectively, who shall hold his office for four years from the time of his election and until his successor is elected and qualified; he shall be re-eligible, and subject at all times to removal for willful neglect of duty, or misdemeanor in office in the same manner that the Clerks of the Courts are removable. In the event of any vacancy in the office of the Register of Wills, said vacancy shall be filled by the Judges of the Orphans' Court, in which such vacancy occurs, until the next general election for Delegates to the General Assembly when a Register shall be elected to serve for four years thereafter.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, on November 6, 1956.

Part VI: District Court

Section 41A

Text of Section 41A:

The District Court shall have the original jurisdiction prescribed by law. Jurisdiction of the District Court shall be uniform throughout the State; except that in Montgomery County and other counties and the City of Baltimore, the Court may have such jurisdiction over juvenile causes as is provided by law.[1]

Amendments

  • Referring to the People's Courts, this section originally was added by Chapter 163, Acts of 1939, on November 5, 1940, and amended by Chapter 575, Acts of 1959, on November 8, 1960. It was repealed and a new section concerning the District Court was enacted by Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970, and amended by Chapter 544, Acts of 1976, on November 2, 1976.

Section 41B

Text of Section 41B:

The District Court shall consist of the number of judges prescribed by law. The State shall be divided by law into districts. Each district shall consist of one county or two or more entire and adjoining counties. The number of judges shall be allocated among the districts by law, and there shall be at least one District Court judge resident in each district. In any district containing more than one county, there shall be at least one District Court judge resident in each county in the district. Functional divisions of the District Court may be established in any district.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 163, Acts of 1939, on November 5, 1940.
  • Repealed and a new section enacted by Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41C

Text of Section 41C:

Each District Court judge shall devote full time to his judicial duties, shall have the qualifications prescribed by Section 2 of this Article, and shall be a resident of the district in which he holds office. The number of judges for any district may be increased or decreased by the General Assembly from time to time, subject to the requirements of Section 41B of this Article, and any vacancy so created shall be filled as provided in Section 41D of this Article.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 373, Acts of 1959, on November 8, 1960.
  • Repealed and a new section enacted by Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41D

Text of Section 41D:

The Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint each judge of the District Court whenever for any reason a vacancy shall exist in the office. All hearings, deliberations, and debate on the confirmation of appointees of the Governor shall be public, and no hearings, deliberations or debate thereon shall be conducted by the Senate or any committee or subcommittee thereof in secret or executive session. Confirmation by the Senate shall be made upon a majority vote of all members of the Senate. A judge appointed by the Governor may take office upon qualification and before confirmation by the Senate, but shall cease to hold office at the close of the regular annual session of the General Assembly next following his appointment or during which he shall have been appointed by the Governor, if the Senate shall not have confirmed his appointment before then. Each judge appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate shall hold the office for a term of ten years or until he shall have attained the age of seventy years whichever may first occur. If the ten year term of a judge shall expire before that judge shall have attained the age of seventy years, that judge shall be reappointed by the Governor, with the Senate's consent, for another ten year term or until he shall have attained the age of seventy years, whichever may first occur. To the extent inconsistent herewith, the provisions of Section 3 and 5 of this Article shall not apply to judges of the District Court.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41E

Text of Section 41E:

The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall designate one judge of the District Court as Chief Judge of that Court, to serve as Chief Judge at his pleasure. The Chief Judge of the District Court may assign administrative duties to other judges of the District Court and shall perform such other duties in the administration of the District Court as may be prescribed by rule or by law.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41F

Text of Section 41F:

The Chief Judge of the District Court shall appoint, to serve at his pleasure, a Chief Clerk of that Court. He shall also appoint, to serve at his pleasure, and upon the recommendation of the administrative judge of the district, a chief administrative clerk for each district. The chief clerk shall perform such duties in the administration of the District Court as may be assigned him by the chief judge or as may be prescribed by rule or by law. Each chief administrative clerk shall perform such duties in the administration of the District Court as may be assigned him by the administrative judge of his district or as may be prescribed by rule of law. There shall be in each County a clerk of the District Court whose appointment, term, and compensation shall be prescribed by law. The Chief Judge of the District Court, upon recommendation of the respective administrative judges, shall appoint such deputy clerks, constables, and other officers of the District Court as may be necessary. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to prescribe by law a fixed compensation for all such officers.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41G

Text of Section 41G:

(a)

(1) There shall be district court commissioners in the number and with the qualifications and compensation prescribed by law.
(2) Commissioners in a district shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Administrative Judge of the district, subject to the approval of the Chief Judge of the District Court.

(b) Commissioners may exercise power only with respect to and only as prescribed by law or rule as to:

(1) warrants of arrest, or bail or collateral or other terms of pre-trial release pending hearing; and
(2) issuance of civil interim peace orders and civil interim protective orders within the jurisdiction of the District Court when the Office of the Clerk of the District Court is not open.[1]

Amendments

Section 41H

Text of Section 41H:

The salary of a judge of the District Court shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 41-I

Text of Section 41I:

For the purpose of implementing the amendments to Articles IV, XV and XVII of this Constitution, establishing the District Court, the following provisions shall govern.

(a) The provisions of Section 41D of this Article shall govern initial vacancies in the office of judge of the District Court. Each full-time judge of the People's Court of Baltimore City, the Municipal Court of Baltimore City, and of the People's Courts of Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince George's, Wicomico Counties and Baltimore County who is in office on the effective date of these amendments shall continue in office as a judge of the District Court in his district and county of residence (or in Baltimore City) for the remainder of the term for which he was elected or appointed, and if his term expires prior to January 1, 1971, such judge shall be re-appointed by the Governor, if the Senate consents, in accordance with the provisions of Section 41D of this Article, subject to the Provisions of the Constitution respecting age, removal and retirement; provided that the term of any such judge of a People's Court who would be ineligible for appointment as a judge of the District Court under this Article shall expire on the effective date of these amendments. Thereafter, retention of any judge who is retained in office pursuant to the preceding provisions of this subsection shall be pursuant to Section 41D of this Article. No People's Court judge, judge of the Housing Court of Baltimore County, or Justice of the Peace shall be appointed or elected or exercise any power or jurisdiction.

(b) Each full-time clerk of a justice of the peace designated as trial magistrate of a People's Court, of the Municipal Court of Baltimore City, and the chief constable of the People's Court of Baltimore City who is in office on the day before the first Monday in July, 1970, shall become a deputy clerk of the District Court on the first Monday in July 1970. The taking effect of the aforegoing amendments shall not of itself affect the tenure, term, status, retirement, or compensation of any person then holding public office, position, or employment in this State, except as provided in the amendments.

(c) All statutory references to justices of the peace designated as trial magistrates, to People's Courts, to the Municipal Court of Baltimore City or to the Housing Court of Baltimore County, shall be deemed to refer to the District Court in the appropriate district, county or Baltimore City, to the extent not inconsistent with this Constitution.

(d) No member of the General Assembly at which these amendments were proposed, or at which the number of or salary of any such judges may have been increased or decreased by the General Assembly from time to time, if otherwise qualified, is ineligible for appointment or election as a judge of the District Court by reason of his membership in the General Assembly.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 42

Text of Section 42:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Repealed by Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Section 43

Text of Section 43:

Vacant.[1]

Amendments

  • Repealed by Chapter 789, Acts of 1969, on November 3, 1970.

Part VII: Sheriffs

Section 44

Text of Section 44:

There shall be elected in each county and in Baltimore City one person, resident in said county or City, above the age of twenty-five years and for at least five years preceding his election a citizen of the State, to the office of Sheriff. He shall hold office for four years, until his successor is duly elected and qualified, give such bond, exercise such powers and perform such duties as now are or may hereafter be fixed by law.

In case of vacancy by death, resignation, refusal to serve, or neglect to qualify or give bond, or by disqualification or removal from the County or City, the Governor shall appoint a person to be Sheriff for the remainder of the official term.

The Sheriff in each county and in Baltimore City shall receive such salary or compensation and such expenses necessary to the conduct of his office as may be fixed by law. All fees collected by the Sheriff shall be accounted for and paid to the Treasury of the several counties and of Baltimore City, respectively.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 845, Acts of 1914, on November 3, 1914.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 786, Acts of 1945, on November 5, 1946.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 55, Acts of 1953, on November 2, 1954.
  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

Section 45

Text of Section 45:

Notaries Public may be appointed for each county and the city of Baltimore, in the manner, for the purpose, and with the powers now fixed, or which may hereafter be prescribed by Law.[1]

Amendments

  • Amended with the approval of Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, on November 7, 1978.

See also

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External links

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References