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Nance appears to take no exception to disciplinary recommendation

The deadline for Baltimore City Circuit Judge Alfred Nance to file exceptions to a disciplinary panel’s recommendation that he be removed from the bench has passed with no filing, according to the Maryland Court of Appeals clerk’s office.

The Commission on Judicial Disabilities made its recommendation Oct. 18, and the record was handed over to the Court of Appeals. Nance had 30 days “after service of the notice of the filing of the record” to file exceptions setting forth the errors allegedly committed by the commission, per the Maryland Rules.

The 30 days tolled on Friday, according to the clerk’s office, and nothing was filed. The Court of Appeals still must take final action in the case. It can follow the commission’s recommendation, impose another permitted sanction, remand the case for further proceedings or dismiss it. A hearing date has not yet been set.

Nance’s attorney, William C. Brennan Jr. of Brennan McKenna Mitchell & Shay Chtd. in Greenbelt, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

After a multi-day hearing in September, the commission determined Nance made comments during a murder trial that were “undignified, discourteous, disparaging and demeaning” and demonstrated “a pattern of serious violations of the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct that strike at the very heart of the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary and the public’s confidence in such integrity and impartiality.”

The allegations stemmed from four criminal cases Nance handled in 2015, most of which involved Assistant Public Defender Deborah K. Levi, who filed complaints against him. The commission determined that Nance displayed bias or prejudice toward Levi which was unwarranted.

Brennan, during a hearing before the commission, described his client as “old school” and character witnesses said he was firm but fair, but the mitigating factors considered by the commission were found to be unpersuasive.

The commission has not recommended a judge be removed from the bench in more than 20 years. Montgomery County District Judge Henry J. Monahan was on the verge of removal in 1996 after he was charged with paying a prostitute for sex in his chambers but he retired before the Court of Appeals acted, and the case was dismissed.

The Court of Appeals has the power to revoke or limit Nance’s pension under the Maryland Constitution but cannot do so if he retires as Monahan did. Nance has been on the bench for 20 years and will reach the state’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in April.

The commission’s findings did not limit Nance’s ability to continue hearing cases while the disciplinary matter is pending. Baltimore City Administrative Judge W. Michel Pierson did not respond to a request for comment on Nance’s status.

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