In 1900, 24 preeminent judges and lawyers of the 18th and 19th centuries were honored by the inscription of their names around the frieze of the Supreme Bench Courtroom in the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse, known then as the Baltimore City Courthouse.
As part of the year-long celebration of the Mitchell Courthouse centennial that will culminate with a Gala on October 7, 48 judges and lawyers are being similarly honored as the preeminent jurists of the 20th century.
The Daily Record will reveal these distinguished barristers, four at a time, in alphabetical order, in 12 successive issues. Today is the second set of four.
The choices were made by a board of selectors, consisting of seasoned and respected members of the Baltimore bar and bench, who are listed below:
The Honorable Robert M. Bell
Lowell R. Bowen, Esquire
Andre W. Brewster, Esquire
William W. Cahill, Jr., Esquire
The Honorable Robert I. H. Hammerman
Isaac Hecht, Esquire
The Honorable Mabel E. H. Hubbard
Max R. Israelson, Esquire
Neal M. Janey, Esquire
The Honorable Shirley Jones
The Honorable Joseph H. H. Kaplan
Dean Lawrence Katz
Arthur W. Machen, Jr., Esquire
The Honorable J. Frederick Motz
Wilbur D. Preston, Esquire
The Honorable Lawrence F. Rodowsky
The Honorable David Ross
Donald N. Rothman, Esquire
George L. Russell, Jr., Esquire
Stephen H. Sachs, Esquire
Shale D. Stiller, Esquire
Melvin J. Sykes, Esquire
CARROLL T. BOND
One of Maryland’s greatest judges, Carroll T. Bond agreed to accept reappointment as chief judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland in 1941 despite his avowed intention to retire. Governor Herbert R. O’Conor said of him, “His learning, scholarship, experience and mature judgment combine to make him an ideal judge, and our State has been most fortunate in receiving the benefit of his valuable services.” Judge Bond was a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Maryland School of Law. Except for service as a corporal with the Maryland Volunteers during the Spanish-American War, he practiced law in Baltimore for 15 years, first as an associate with the firm of Marshall, Marbury and Bowdoin, later Marbury and Bowdoin, and later as a partner in Williams and Bond, and Marbury and Gosnell. He was appointed as a trial judge on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City (now the Circuit Court for Baltimore City), where he served from 1911–24. From there, he went to the Court of Appeals of Maryland as an associate judge in 1924 and later as chief judge from 1924 until his death in 1943. He was the author of The Court of Appeals of Maryland, written on the occasion of the sesquicentennial of the court in 1928. He chaired the Bond Commission, which recommended the plan for modernizing and reorganizing the Court of Appeals.
FREDERICK W. BRUNE IV
Judge Frederick William Brune, fourth member of his family to bear the name, was born in Baltimore on October 15, 1894. His grandfather was a founder of one of Maryland’s oldest law firms, Brown and Brune, in Baltimore in 1838. His father, Frederick W. Brune III, was a charter member of the Maryland State Bar Association when it was founded in 1896. Judge Brune would serve as its President in 1947–48. Brune graduated from Harvard University in 1916 and from the Harvard Law School in 1920. In between, he served in World War I with the Ambulance Corps and with U.S. Army Intelligence. In 1921, he achieved a perfect score on the Maryland bar examination. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1923–24, leaving to form a law partnership with William C. Coleman and Edward F.A. Morgan. In 1927, he formed a partnership with Morgan under the name Morgan and Brown that was absorbed into Semmes, Bowen & Semmes the following year. He had a large corporate and banking practice. In 1940, he served as president of the Bar Association of Baltimore City. He remained a partner at Semmes until 1954, when he was appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland by Governor McKeldin. The Brune Room at the University of Maryland School of Law was established in his memory.
JOSEPH R. BYRNES
Judge Joseph R. Byrnes began his legal career as a deputy clerk to the Supreme Bench, where he compiled the first catalogue of courthouse portraits in 1936. Orphaned at age seven, he was raised by the Norris family on their farm in Charles County. On his return to Baltimore City, Byrnes worked his way through Loyola College and the University of Baltimore School of Law, from which he graduated in 1931. Chief Judge Samuel K. Dennis encouraged him into private practice in 1939 with Tydings, Sauwerwein, Levy and Archer. He later joined his close friend David P. Gordon in partnership. In 1942, he was elected to the Maryland State Senate, and in 1947 became its president. As a senator he led the successful fight for the Bond Commission proposed reorganization of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the establishment of a juvenile court, and mental health policy reform.In 1950, he was appointed to the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City by Governor William Preston Lane, Jr., and served until 1968. One of his notable cases was the trial of Dunbar High School students, including Robert M. Bell, the current chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, for trespassing in Hooper’s Restaurant on June 17, 1960, during the early days of the civil rights “sit-in” movement. There being no precedent for Equal Protection Clause defenses, they were found guilty. But stating that the students “were not law breaking people” and that their protest was “one of principle rather than an intentional attempt to violate the law,” Judge Byrnes imposed only a $10 fine, which he promptly suspended. The convictions were subsequently vacated. Maryland Court of Appeals Judge J. Dudley Digges called Byrnes “one of the best natural trial judges that ever graced the Bench of this State.” The Sun editorialized that he was a man who “knows right from wrong and whose habit it is to tell publicly which is which.”
He was the father of Judges John Carroll Byrnes and J. Norris Byrnes, Associate Judges of the Circuit Courts for Baltimore City and Baltimore County, respectively.
One of Maryland’s greatest advocates, Bernard Carter argued 224 cases before the Court of Appeals of Maryland between 1856 and 1908. He was provost of the University of Maryland from 1894–1912, succeeding Severn Teackle Wallis. His clients included the Northern Central Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., and the United Railways and Electric Co. of Baltimore. As a delegate to the Convention that drafted the Maryland Constitution of 1867, he chaired the committee that created the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City. At his death, he was described in the Proceedings of the Maryland State Bar Association as “a lawyer who stood in the highest rank” of his profession, and a member of “the Hall of Fame of the Maryland Bar.”
Carter was born on July 20, 1834, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a descendant of the Carters of Virginia and the Calverts of Maryland. He graduated fro
m St. James College, Hagerstown, in 1852 and from Harvard Law School in 1855. He came to Baltimore shortly thereafter and began his legal career in the law office of James Mason Campbell. Carter was a spokesman for reform and supported the New Judge Movement of 1882. He served as City Solicitor from 1883 to 1889. He died on June 13, 1912, at Narragansett, Rhode Island, the acknowledged Dean of the Maryland Bar.
Click here to view the Preeminents for September 16, 2000.
Several criteria governed the selection process. To be eligible for nomination:
1) the honoree had to be deceased. It would have been a formidable task, virtually impossible, to include the living in the selection process. Additionally, it is fair to say that greatness survives death.
2) The nominee needed to have a significant connection to Baltimore City.
3) Recognizing that the legal profession holds a position of trust and responsibility within our society, each nominee not only had to excel in the profession, but also had to have performed meaningful public good outside of the profession itself.
The selection process began in 1995. An announcement soliciting the names of nominees ran in The Daily Record and in notices sent by the Bar Association of Baltimore City.
Ninety-six names were submitted in nomination. Biographical data were gathered and edited on each nominee. This biographical compilation was done by the project coordinator, Judge Gary I. Strausberg, with the assistance of Judge James F. Schneider, Kathleen Birrane, Esquire, Lee Gordon, Esquire, George Golomb, Esquire, and Andrew Radding, Esquire.