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Heroes and bad guys (access required)

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a law clerk for Judge M. Brooke Murdock in Baltimore City Circuit Court, assisting her with her violation of probation docket in the Mitchell Courthouse. I had recently graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law and taken the bar exam a little over a month earlier. In my second or third week of my clerkship, I was still trying to get accustomed to the responsibilities of the job and trying to establish the boundaries associated with my new position. As Judge Murdock handled the VOPs, I received a Post-it note from our secretary, Sharon. The note read: "A plane has flown into one of the Twin Towers." I immediately passed the note to the judge and my mind started asking questions that I did not have the answers to. A few minutes later, a second note was received: "The second tower has been hit." Internal panic set in, but court was in session and, as an extension of the judge and the court, I continued to work on the VOPs. Soon after, third and fourth notes arrived. Throughout the course of the proceedings, Judge Murdock had been providing the individuals in the courtroom with updates of the limited information contained in the four Post-it notes. Remember, these are the days before smart phones, so information was not available at our fingertips as it is today.