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Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera presents the State of the Judiciary to both houses of the General Assembly, while (clockwise from top left) Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, House Speaker Michael Busch, Gov. Lawrence Hogan Jr., Judge Clayton Greene Jr. and Judge Lynne A. Battaglia kiij ib, (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera presents the State of the Judiciary to both houses of the General Assembly, while (clockwise from top left) Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, House Speaker Michael Busch, Gov. Lawrence Hogan Jr., Judge Clayton Greene Jr. and Judge Lynne A. Battaglia kiij ib, (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Chief judge presents State of the Judiciary

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera is presenting the a State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Maryland General Assembly on Wednesday.

It’s the first time the speech has been delivered to both chambers of the Legislature since 2005, and the first such address for Barbera, who has been chief judge since July 2013.

Barbera was invited by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Calvert and Charles, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, to come “at least the first year of every term,” a spokesperson from Busch’s office said in January.

Barbera is the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, which is the state’s highest court.

One comment

  1. Richard Baldwin Cook

    In the first (and last) lawsuit I ever filed in federal court, I discovered my judge had accepted a gift and done a favor to litigators in another matter. He had ignored procedural rules and granted a motion to amend a complaint without giving the answering parties an opportunity to respond. According to the local newspaper, this judge’s slight of hand was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the judge’s former law partners.

    I did not then – and do not now – believe in gifting judges. This behavior undermines the independence and objectivity of the bench and is a threat to every litigant, especially poor ones, who cannot offer their judge a junket to Italy. So, I promptly filed a motion of recusal and a confidential complaint with the supervising circuit court judges – who wrote to me there was no problem in a judge receiving gifts – and ignored everything else I subsequently complained about.

    My judge found my conduct “contumacious” and referred me for sanction, to an employee in his own chambers – a magistrate judge, who was my judge’s assistant. (In a matter in which the financial misconduct of a judge is at issue, the matter is supposed to be referred to another court; this did not happen.) My judge then published the fact of my confidential complaint, which is itself an act of undisputed judicial misconduct. No matter.

    I was heavily sanctioned by the judge who (1) fined me $15,000 (2) ordered me to apologize to him on pain of further fines and (3) ordered me off the case, leaving my clients without counsel.

    All of this was mere prelude to three separate prosecutions of me by the state court judges of Louisiana, Hawaii and Maryland, each taking their lemming-like turn to find that my ‘misconduct’ disqualified me from hanging on to a license to practice law – I am too honest to be a lawyer.

    Not one of the twenty or thirty judges who judged me, troubled themselves to look at the serious, underlying complaints I had made about the conduct of the venal miscreant who held the fate of my clients’ lawsuit in the palms of his grasping hands.

    My ordeal before these various banks of judges was inflected at every turn by their willingness to see my complaints as mere “allegations;” each request to disciplinary council to refer my complaints to a U.S. attorney before judging me was simply ignored.

    I hope the next time Chief Judge Barbera speaks, she will provide details about the gifting of Maryland judges, with names, amounts, and the outcome of each matter subsequent to a Maryland judge receiving an item of value, whether cash, travel, rent money, honorarium or anything else.

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