Maryland Conference of Circuit Judges Names New Leaders
(Annapolis, Md. — Jan. 7, 2009) One of the most influential judicial advisory boards to the state’s highest court and chief judge has elected Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure as its new chair and Baltimore City Circuit Judge Marcella A. Holland as vice-chair.
The Maryland Conference of Circuit Judges serves as a policy advisory body to Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, who oversees the 285 circuit and district court judges that comprise the Maryland Judiciary. The conference works collaboratively and in consultation with the chief judge in developing policies affecting the administration of the Circuit Courts. Its 16 members include the circuit administrative judge from each judicial circuit and one circuit judge elected from each judicial circuit.
Judge Leasure is the first woman to head the conference, and Judge Holland is the first African-American woman to serve in a leadership role in the conference. The judges were both elected at a conference meeting held on Nov. 17, and began their two-year terms effective Dec. 4.
Judge Leasure succeeds Prince George’s County Circuit Judge William D. Missouri, who had served as chair of the conference since 2004. Judge Missouri, who is circuit and county administrative judge for the 7th Judicial Circuit (Prince George’s County), and chief judge of the 7th Circuit, will continue to serve on the conference.
“I was most fortunate to serve as Judge Missouri’s vice-chair for the past four years, and I realize I have very large shoes to fill,” Judge Leasure said. “I’ve learned much from my predecessors, and I hope to continue the successful initiatives they began and institute new ones with the very able assistance and support of Judge Holland. I am looking forward to working with all of my colleagues on the Circuit Court benches.”
Judge Leasure has been a judge in Howard County since November 1995, and has been circuit administrative judge for the 5th Judicial Circuit (Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Howard counties) and Howard County administrative judge since January 2002. Before being elected chair of the Maryland Conference of Circuit Judges, she had served as its vice-chair since 2004. Born in Cumberland, Md., she graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1982, and became an associate, then principal and chair of the litigation practice group at the law firm of Fossett & Brugger.
Judge Holland, who became an associate judge in 1997, has served as the circuit administrative judge for the Baltimore City Circuit Court since 2003. She is the first and only African-American woman administrative judge in Maryland. A native of Howard County, she previously worked as an assistant state’s attorney and is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.
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(Editor’s Note: Photos of Judge Leasure and Judge Holland are available to the media. For more information, please call the Court Information Office at (410) 260-1488 or e-mail Darrell.Pressley@mdcourts.gov.)