Judiciary Welcomes New Chief Judge

On July 3, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley named Judge Mary Ellen Barbera as chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.


Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera
An Interview with Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera

Chief Judge Barbera shared some thoughts about her life, career, and goals for Maryland's Courts with Court of Special Appeals Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff.


Court of Appeals rug with seal
Judge Shirley M. Watts Joins Court of Appeals

On July 3, 2013, Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Judge Shirley M. Watts to the Court of Appeals. Judge Watts represents the Sixth Appellate Judicial Circuit (Baltimore City).


Court of Appeals group photo
Historic Appointments

This summer, when Gov. Martin O’Malley named Judge Shirley A. Watts to the Court of Appeals and Judge Mary Ellen Barbera as the next chief judge, he noted the historical significance of the appointments. “Together, these decisions give the Maryland Court of Appeals its first ever female majority, first female chief judge, and first African-American female judge,” the governor said.


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Judiciary’s New Website Created for Customers

The Judiciary’s newly designed website launched in July 2013, and it has been a big “hit” with visitors. To better serve the needs of our customers, the information on the website was reorganized so it is easier to navigate and is more user-friendly. This ensures that even visitors not familiar with the inner workings of the courts can understand and find what they need on the site.


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Teleconferencing Makes Court Hearings Safer, More Efficient

Picture a judge in a courtroom, talking with a defendant who is miles away in a detention center or correctional facility. The judge and others in the courtroom can see the detainee on a television monitor. The detainee can see the judge on a monitor at the detention facility. The cameras can pan to other portions of the room, and zoom in as needed. The judge and detainee can hear each other clearly. During this exchange, a judge may review a bail bond, decide to release the individual who was brought in on a bench warrant, conduct an arraignment, or hear an inmate grievance appeal.


Howard County Circuit Court Belfry side angle

New Administrative Judges

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has named several new administrative judges to oversee the administration of the courts, budget and procurement functions, and trial calendars to ensure the expeditious disposition of cases.


Court of Appeals:
New Policy Promotes Timely Decisions

The members of the Court of Appeals have unanimously adopted a new policy: All cases the Court of Appeals hears during a term will be decided during that same term. The policy began with the start of the current term, which runs Sept. 1, 2013-Aug. 31, 2014. The Court of Appeals hears cases from September through June.

This new policy of deciding cases in the term year in which they are heard follows the example of the U.S. Supreme Court, and is part of an overall Judiciary goal to provide timely adjudication.

Pamela Harris State Court Administrator

Pam Harris Named State Court Administrator

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera named Pamela Harris state court administrator, effective August 5, 2013. Harris, who has served since 1989 as court administrator for the Montgomery County Circuit Court, succeeds Frank Broccolina, who announced his retirement after more than 35 years of service to the Maryland Judiciary, including 13 years as state court administrator.


Greg Hilton, Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals

Greg Hilton Named Clerk of Court of Special Appeals

Philip Gregory (Greg) Hilton was named Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals in August 2013. Hilton has been with the Court of Special Appeals since 2009. He was appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals in October 2009 and was promoted to Chief Deputy Clerk in July 2011. He succeeds Leslie Gradet, who retired July 31 after 25 years as Clerk.


Howard County District Court Commissioner sign

Task Force to Study Pretrial Confinement and Release

In light of the Court of Appeals’ recent decision in DeWolfe vs. Richmond, the Judiciary has created a task force to study pretrial detention processes. Judge John R. Hargrove Jr. will head the new Judiciary Task Force on Pretrial Confinement.


Anne Arundel County Prepares for MDEC Pilot Program

Preparations for the planned 2014 pilot of Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) in Anne Arundel County are in full swing.


Juror's bench

Updated, Cost-effective Jury Management System Available

A centralized jury management system that is being used by 14 jurisdictions in Maryland is now available to other courts in the state system. Based on requests from several jurisdictions wishing to upgrade their jury management systems, State Court Administrator Pamela Harris has announced that other jurisdictions can now take advantage of the cost savings inherent in the centralized system.


ASTAR Judges visit Calvert Cliffs

Maryland ASTAR Judges Visit Calvert Cliffs

Several Maryland judges visited Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby recently as part of the ASTAR (Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource) program. ASTAR provides a high-level scientific, technological, and medical curriculum to trial court judges to better equip them to understand and preside over cases that involve such issues.


Howard County Circuit Court back door

New Rules Help Protect Private Information in Court Documents

Under a rule that went into effect July 2013, people who file documents about civil actions in Maryland courts cannot include unnecessary private information, like Social Security numbers or other identification numbers.



This edition of Justice Matters is focuses on Maryland Courts: Moving Forward. It features information about the Judiciary's new leadership, as well as a number of Judiciary programs, initiatives, and efforts created to provide fair, equitable, and timely administration of justice in Maryland. We invite your feedback on how to make Justice Matters more useful and user-friendly. Send your questions and comments to communications@mdcourts.gov

Also In This Issue:

Looking at Jury Service from the Other Side of the Bench

Maryland Court Professionals Take Part in Mid-Atlantic Conference



Judge Strives to Keep National “Court” Ranking

Justice Matters Editorial Board and staff

Justice Matters print edition


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