Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Irma Raker Honored by Women Judges and Legislatorsí Association
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – April 13, 2009) Retired Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Irma Raker was recently honored for her lifetime achievements and contributions to the legal profession during the 15th Annual Joint Dinner meeting of the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges and Women Legislators.
The event, which was also renamed the Irma Raker NAWJ/Legislators’ Dinner in honor of her efforts to found the group, was held at Government House in Annapolis on March 10 and hosted by Maryland’s first lady and District Court Judge Catherine Curran O’Malley.
“The purpose of the dinner is to get the women judges and women legislators in a room with no distractions to talk about issues,” said Marsha Wise, Executive Director of the Women Legislators of Maryland, which was the nation’s first women’s caucus.
Over the years, the association of women judges and legislators has worked to provide a number of opportunities and programs for women in prison or recently released from prison, including the creation a college degree program at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. There are currently 59 women serving in the state legislature. There are 89 female judges in the Judiciary.
This year, the dinner served a dual purpose – recognizing Judge Raker following her retirement from the Court of Appeals in April 2008 and highlighting an outstanding legal career as a former prosecutor and judge spanning more than three decades
“We wanted to honor Judge Raker for everything she’s done, her career and her efforts to network with women legislators every year,” Wise said. More than 60 women legislators and judges attended the event.
Judge Raker served on the State’s highest court from 1994 to 2008, representing the 7th Appellate Circuit (Montgomery County). Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, she served as an associate judge for Montgomery County Circuit Court from 1982 to 1993, and on the District Court of Maryland from 1980 to 1982.
Although in retirement, Judge Raker now serves the Judiciary as chairperson of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, which was created last year by Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, to assess and make recommendations on how to improve the ability of people to access justice for their legal needs, including greater access to legal information, legal assistance and use of the courts.
“Judge Raker has been a very valuable colleague on the Court of Appeals, and I am delighted that she is leading this Commission,” Judge Bell said. “I know that she is bringing the same enthusiasm, energy and expertise to this new challenge as she did to the Court of Appeals. The issues this Commission is tackling are of critical importance to all people who come in contact with Maryland’s court system, and I am confident that, under her leadership, this Commission will help improve access for all Maryland’s residents.”