Judge Brett W. Wilson

Judge Brett W. Wilson

County Administrative Judge
Biography from the Maryland Manual Online

Brett W. Wilson, County Administrative Judge, Dorchester County Circuit Court, 1st Judicial Circuit, since June 30, 2004. Designated Judge for Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR) Center Program, 2005 – present. Named ASTAR Fellow October 2006. Board of Directors, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, Inc., 2005 – present.

Member, Board of Education, Dorchester County, 1989-94. General Practitioner 1983-1998. Assistant State’s Attorney, Wicomico County, 1986-87. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney, Caroline County, 1998-2001. Standing Magistrate for Domestic Relations and Juvenile Causes, Dorchester County Circuit Court, First Judicial Circuit, 1996-2004. Faculty, Family Law Curriculum, Maryland Judicial Institute, 2002.

Salisbury State College, B.A. (history), summa cum laude, 1980. University of Maryland School of Law. J.D. 1983. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1983.

Maryland State Bar Association, 1983-present. Dorchester County Bar Association, 1986-present (president, 1999-2001). Fellow of the Maryland Bar Foundation.

Magistrate Mary Elliott O'Donnell, Esquire

Mary Elliott O'Donnell was appointed Magistrate in June 2020. Until Magistrate O’Donnell’s appointment, she had been serving as the Assistant County Attorney for Talbot County.  She has extensive experience in CINA, custody, visitation, child support, delinquency, truancy, domestic violence and child abuse cases. She was the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Alexandria, Virginia for fourteen years specializing in CINA cases representing the Department of Community and Human Services. Other notable accomplishments include:  assisted with establishing and staffing a family drug treatment court; helped with the creation and implementation of Alexandria’s child advocacy center; a qualified GAL for nineteen years; liaison to the Board of Directors for the Center for Alexandria’s Children; and regularly assisted in training CASA volunteers.

Magistrate O’Donnell will regularly preside in domestic matters in the Circuit Courts for Dorchester and Wicomico Counties beginning on June 3, 2020. Additionally, she may be assigned to sit in Somerset and Worcester Counties.


Maryland Rules 2-541, 9-208, 11-110 and 11-111 provide for referral of certain divorce, custody, visitation, child support, juvenile delinquency, child welfare and other matters to a standing magistrate. A magistrate is not a judge, but is vested with the authority to make findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations for court orders. A magistrate is charged with the authority and responsibility to conduct hearings and make evidentiary rulings. The magistrate’s findings and recommendations are reviewed by a circuit court judge before an order is entered. A party may file exceptions alleging a specific legal error to the magistrate’s recommendation within ten days in a domestic case, or five days in a juvenile case.