Tag: judges

Gov. Hogan Appoints Trio of New Baltimore City Circuit Court Judges

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Mitchell Courthouse, one of two Baltimore City Circuit Court buildings
Mitchell Courthouse, one of two Baltimore City Circuit Court buildings

Two attorneys currently serving the state and one serving Baltimore County have been tapped to become judges in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Hogan Announces Baltimore City Judicial Appointments

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baltimore-district-court

Fills Three Vacancies on the District Court for Baltimore City

Governor Larry Hogan yesterday announced the appointments of Katie O’Hara, Michael Studdard, and Nicole Taylor to the District Court for Baltimore City. The governor made the appointments after reviewing nominees from the judicial nominating commission for Baltimore City.

Maryland Judge Takes “Tough Love” Too Far

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Photo by Ozier Muhammad via the New York Times
Photo by Ozier Muhammad via the New York Times

This weekend, the New York Times took a long, hard look at a crucial part of the justice system that often gets overlooked: judges. And the Times used as its main example a Maryland judge with some intense opinions on juvenile justice.

Lawmakers Weigh Their Options with Judges’ Salaries

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How much easier it would be to get my way if at the start of every negotiation I set a short timer on a doomsday device. That’s (sort of) how it’s working for Maryland judges. If the state legislature can’t come to an alternate agreement among themselves by tomorrow, then a 23 percent raise over three years will automatically take effect. And, man, is that making the House and Senate move, move, move!

The Senate passed a resolution to raise salaries by 11 percent, and it looks like the House will approve it, without any amendments at all, even as it seems plenty of them would rather see a pay freeze. As Del. John Bohanan explained to Maryland Reporter, “As a practical matter, we’re not going to have enough time for the Senate to join with us in agreement if we adopt any amendments.” And so, largely, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are agreeing to quickly pass the Senate resolution.

I know even an 11 percent increase seems out of proportion with an austerity budget, but it’s worth it just to see politicians be forced to choose the lesser of two evils. You know, like we often do.

In Maryland Justice Is Blind, and Underpaid, and Considering Joining the Private Sector

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The Judicial Compensation Commission recommended a $29,000 increase in the salary in Maryland judges by 2016 to avoid losing qualified judges to the private sector. This would amount to a 23 percent raise (over four years) to lower-paid judges. It’s true that if you take into account cost of living, Maryland’s judges’ salaries rank 43rd among states. But it’s unlikely that Maryland will be making its way toward the top of that list any time soon.

Henry E. Dugan, president of the Maryland Bar Association, wrote an opinion piece for The Sun, voicing his support for the proposed pay increase. His founding-father-quote-ridden appeal, while making a strong case for the importance of the judicial branch to the American democratic system, fails to address the details, namely, why taxpayers should cough up $14 million to give judges a more than 20 percent raise amid a sagging economy and a “$1 billion budget shortfall.” Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were brilliant, but they weren’t speaking about Maryland post-housing-bubble.

It looks like they’ll get some kind of raise — they haven’t seen one of those since 2006 —  but given State Delegates’ response to the proposal, it won’t be nearly the size they’re looking for. Delegate Guy Guzzone of Howard County couldn’t see awarding judges a raise out of proportion with other state workers. He would consider giving them a two percent raise. How does that sound, guys?

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