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Anne Arundel judge’s retirement appears to end disciplinary proceedings

Disciplinary proceedings against an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge were canceled Friday in light of the judge’s pending disability-related retirement.

Judge Paul G. Goetzke, 57, was scheduled for a hearing before the Commission on Judicial Disabilities on May 15. The commission charged him with committing sanctionable conduct when he questioned an attorney at length about a prior complaint she filed against him “using a demeaning and sarcastic tone” in 2016.

Goetzke, who has been on the bench since 2004, denied any sanctionable conduct and asked for the charges to be dismissed. A multi-day hearing set for March was rescheduled for the single day in May.

According to the notice canceling the hearing posted Friday afternoon, Goetzke is expected to retire due to medical disability in June.

Goetzke is represented by William C. Brennan Jr. of Brennan, McKenna, Mitchell & Shay in Greenbelt. Brennan did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The confrontation between the complaining attorney and Goetzke occurred after she appeared before Goetzke in court and the judge revised an order at her request with no opposition. After the hearing concluded, Goetzke recalled the matter but excused all of the parties except for the attorney and then asked her to explain the allegations in her complaint to the commission.

Public records do not include the substance of the initial complaint.

Disciplinary proceedings terminate if a judge retires. Most recently, former Baltimore City Circuit Judge Alfred Nance was recommended for removal from the bench last year but stepped down in December before the Court of Appeals could take final action, allowing him to maintain his pension.

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