Governor Larry Hogan has appointed the following individuals to the Maryland bench (September 1, 2018, through January 1, 2019):
New Maryland Rules Shift Pro Bono and IOLTA Reporting for Attorneys to Fiscal Year Cycle
The Court of Appeals of Maryland has adopted new rules to make it easier for attorneys to comply with annual reporting and payment requirements using the Attorney Information System (AIS). As a result, annual pro bono and IOLTA reporting forms will no longer be mailed to attorneys in January. Instead, beginning in 2019, attorneys will receive a single email notice to use AIS to pay their Client Protection Fund (CPF) assessment and submit their pro bono and Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) reports. Under the new rules, the reporting schedule for pro bono and IOLTA reports will be by fiscal, rather than calendar year, which aligns with the current schedule for CPF assessments. Attorneys will be asked to report annually for the prior fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). A notice will be sent via email to all attorneys no later than July 10 of each year, with reports due by September 10. This consolidated notice and reporting schedule will make it easier for Maryland’s more than 40,000 registered attorneys to remember these annual requirements and maintain their good standing. To accommodate this shift, the next reporting cycle will cover an 18-month period. Attorneys will be notified in July 2019, and instructed to use AIS to complete their pro bono and IOLTA reports for January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. Those reports must be completed by September 10, 2019.
New Court Rules Refine Court Processes Regarding Guardianships of Vulnerable Marylanders
Changes to court rules refining court processes and procedures for guardianships took effect January 1, 2019. Guardians are appointed by the court to make personal or financial decisions on behalf of a person who is unable to manage those matters because of age, disease, or disability. The changes apply to court-appointed guardians, guardianships, and attorneys. The changes include:
Hogan Designates Fader Chief Judge of MD Court of Special Appeals
Governor Larry Hogan designated the Honorable Matthew J. Fader as Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, on which he has served since November 2017. “I am confident that Judge Fader is the most qualified candidate to step into the chief judge role on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,” said Governor Hogan. “I would like to congratulate him on this designation, and I know that he will serve the people of Maryland well in this new role.” Fader succeeds Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward, who retired November 30, 2018, upon reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.
Barbera Names Tucker Administrative Judge of Howard County Circuit Court
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals of Maryland, named the Honorable William V. Tucker administrative judge of the Howard County Circuit Court, effective September 30. Tucker succeeded the Honorable Lenore R. Gelfman, who retired after more than 29 years on the bench. Barbera, who praised Gelfman’s efforts in stewarding the Howard County Circuit through the complex planning and successful implementation of the Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC), said that Tucker, who has served on the Howard County bench since December 2011, “has the experience to lead the court into the next era. I am confident he will excel in this important leadership role, as he has in so many others.”
Maryland Court Self-Help Center in Frederick Celebrates Grand Opening
The grand opening of the Maryland Court Self-Help Center in Frederick took place on October 5 at the Frederick County Courthouse. The self-help center is the first in Maryland to offer free, on-site legal advice and information about civil matters in both district and circuit courts. Attorneys at the center provide assistance to unrepresented litigants involved in civil cases, including family law, landlord-tenant, domestic violence, foreclosure, small claims, debt collection, and expungement.
Maryland Judiciary Offers New Self-Help Video Series on Child Custody, Child Welfare, and Expungement
In October, the Maryland Judiciary released three new online video series on child custody, child welfare, and expungement. Ranging from three to seven minutes in length, the 13 videos inform the public about court processes and explain complex legal principles and procedures in plain, direct language. Each video is closed-captioned in English and Spanish and has a tip sheet summarizing the video’s content. Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals of Maryland, noted that as part of the Judiciary’s commitment to “providing equal access to justice for all Marylanders,” the new videos – part of an online video library called My Laws, My Courts, My Maryland – are intended to “provide individuals representing themselves in court with useful legal information that will help them prepare for their court proceeding.” Links to further resources, court forms, and services from the My Laws, My Courts, My Maryland video library, visit www.mdcourts.gov/videos.
Baltimore City District Court Honors Fifth Class of Re-Entry Project Graduates
In October, the Baltimore City District Court celebrated the graduation of 40 people who successfully completed the District Court Re-Entry Program. Baltimore City District Court Judge Nicole Pastore Klein founded the program in September 2016 as a court-focused, criminal recidivism initiative offering defendants an opportunity to participate in full-time job training and job placement programs as a condition of their probation, or in lieu of incarceration. More than 95 participants have completed the program to date. “In just two years, Judge Pastore Klein has taken an idea and brought it to fruition by creating a program that helps individuals improve their lives through access to existing local resources, from counseling, to job readiness training, to full-time employment,” said Maryland District Court Chief Judge John P. Morrissey, who attended the event. “People in the Re-Entry Program are now making positive contributions to their families and society.”
Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court Celebrates Graduates, Three-Year Anniversary
Baltimore City District Court recognized at least five participants for their successful completion of the Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court (VTC). Baltimore City District Judge Halee F. Weinstein presided over the docket, which also included a ceremony recognizing the program’s three-year anniversary and Veteran’s Day. Judge Weinstein, a veteran herself, founded VTC in 2015 as a court supervised, comprehensive, and voluntary treatment based program for veterans charged with misdemeanor and concurrent jurisdiction felonies in the District Court. “When someone gets out of the military, they don’t have a common mission anymore,” said Weinstein. “They go back into civilian life and it’s a very difficult transition. We’ve spent the past three years building this program from the ground up and it’s been life-changing for these justice-involved veterans.”
Howard County District Court Honors Adult Drug and DUI Court Graduates
Thirteen graduates celebrated their sobriety and successful completion of a rigorous court-supervised program during the 28th bi-annual graduation ceremony for the adult drug and DUI treatment court in the District Court in Howard County on November 28. Since its launch in 2004, approximately 250 individuals have graduated from Howard County’s program, which combines judicial oversight with intensive treatment and supervision.
Johnson Named Clerk of the Maryland Court of Appeals
Suzanne C. Johnson was sworn in as clerk of the Court of Appeals of Maryland on December 13. Johnson had served as chief deputy clerk of the Court of Appeals since October 2017, and as acting clerk of the Court of Appeals since October 2018, upon the retirement of Bessie Decker, whose more than 35 years of service to the Maryland Judiciary included more than 10 years as clerk of the court. As head of the Clerk’s Office for the state’s highest appellate court, Johnson manages the state reporter, staff, operations, and business processes, and oversees the court docket, including maintaining the official court record. In addition, the Clerk’s Office maintains the attorney grievance and judicial disabilities dockets.
Anne Arundel County District Court Honors Adult Drug and DUI Court Graduates
Approximately 10 graduates celebrated their sobriety and successful completion of a rigorous court-supervised program during the 21st graduation ceremony of the Anne Arundel County District Court Adult Drug and DUI Court on December 13. Since its launch in 1997, more than 800 individuals have graduated from the program, which combines judicial oversight with intensive treatment and supervision.
Maryland Judiciary Hosts Participants from the 13th Annual Conflict Resolution Day Art Contest
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals of Maryland, met with students who participated in the Judiciary’s 13th Annual Conflict Resolution Day Art Contest during an awards ceremony and reception held on December 11 at the Judicial College Education and Conference Center in Annapolis. The contest, which is sponsored by the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), received 1,233 entries from students across Maryland, with 13 bookmarks chosen as winners and 14 as honorable mentions.