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For Immediate Release

Maryland’s New Chief Judge Visits St. Mary’s and Calvert County Courts

(PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. -- Nov. 14, 2013) Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera met with St. Mary’s and Calvert County Circuit Court and District Court judges and personnel yesterday and today as part of her statewide tour of courts and facilities. She plans to visit Charles County next month.

“It’s very helpful to be able to talk face-to-face,” Chief Judge Barbera said. “I’m grateful that my fellow judges have made room in their busy dockets for this meeting.”

Visiting the state’s Circuit and District Courts has been a priority for Maryland’s new chief judge, and she has traveled to almost half the state’s court facilities since early July, when Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed her to lead the state’s court system.

“It’s an opportunity to learn first-hand about what our courts need to provide fair, timely, and easy access to justice here and all over Maryland,” said Chief Judge Barbera, who met with judges and court staff during her tours. “There are many hardworking professionals who make it possible for our courts to operate and our judges to do their jobs. It’s been a privilege to meet so many fine professionals at every level,” she said.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Chief Judge Barbera, State Court Administrator Pam Harris, and Judge Barbera’s law clerk to St. Mary’s County and show her around the District Court, Circuit Court, and the other offices that support our courts,” said Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams, the administrative judge for St. Mary’s County. “We are very proud of our operations, and were pleased that Judge Barbera was so interested in them and took her time to meet and greet the personnel and learn about everything. We look forward to a productive relationship with Judge Barbera and the Administrative Office of the Courts as we endeavor to improve how we deliver judicial services to our community.”

Chief Judge Barbera noted that aging, cramped facilities, outdated technologies, and some of the historic buildings are issues for many courts.

“Marylanders should be proud of the long history of our courts,” Chief Judge Barbera said. “But our courts are also a vital part of our community today and into the future. We need to make sure we have facilities that provide enough space to operate, are accessible for our citizens, and ensure the public safety of everyone. We also have to make sure that our technologies are updated to take on 21st century tasks.”

“It was an honor to welcome our new chief judge to Prince Frederick to tour the facilities and meet our hardworking personnel,” Calvert County Circuit Judge Marjorie L. Clagett said. Judge Clagett is the administrative judge for Calvert County. “We are one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and the increase in judicial filings in the county is putting a significant burden on our cramped facilities, not to mention the workload for our staff. Because of that growth, we were approved for a third judgeship during the last legislative session, and we’ve just sworn in Judge Mark Chandlee, but we need adequate courtrooms and staff to be able to continue to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the citizens of Calvert County. We are proud to be part of a network whose entire judiciary and excellent staff and security personnel aim to serve our citizens.”


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