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Worcester County judge charged with driving under the influence

A Worcester County circuit judge was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in September after a state police trooper pulled her over near Ocean City.

Judge Mary Margaret “Peggy” Kent faces citations for a series of traffic violations, including driving under the influence of alcohol and operating a vehicle while impaired.

Kent, 67, was operating a white Honda CRV on Sept. 16 at about 10:30 p.m. when a Maryland State Police trooper pulled her over, according to a state police spokesperson. The trooper’s on-scene investigation led to Kent’s arrest for DUI and the other traffic charges, the spokesperson said.

The trooper, from MSP’s Berlin Barrack, also filed citations for failure to stop at a stop sign line, failure to drive a vehicle on the right half of the roadway, failure to obey traffic control device instructions, negligent driving and reckless driving.

The stop took place in Worcester County at the intersection of Maryland Route 611 and Antique Road, according to court records.

State police declined to provide additional details. Charging documents are not available because the case involves traffic citations.

Kent declined to comment through her lawyer, William C. Brennan Jr., of Brennan, McKenna & Lawlor, Chtd., in Greenbelt. Bradley Tanner, a spokesperson for the Maryland Judiciary, also declined to comment.

Tanner did not comment on whether the case has been referred to the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, which monitors the conduct of judges in the state.

The State’s Attorney for Worcester County, Kristin Heiser, asked not to handle the case against Kent to avoid “any conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety” for her office. A judge approved the request, and Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance G. Richardson will handle the case instead, court documents show.

The case has been scheduled for a trial in March 2023 in the District Court for Worcester County in Snow Hill.

Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Kent to fill a vacancy on the Worcester County Circuit Court in December 2017. Kent is the first woman to serve on the court.

Before her appointment to the bench, Kent had served as a domestic relations and juvenile causes magistrate for the First Judicial Circuit since 1996.