Office of Communications and Public Affairs
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Annapolis, Maryland 21401

For Immediate Release

Judge John P. Morrissey Named Maryland District Court Chief Judge

(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – April 14, 2014) Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has named Prince George’s County District Court Judge John P. Morrissey as Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, effective June 1.

Judge MorrisseyJudge Morrissey, 49, was appointed as an associate judge for the District Court in 2005. He succeeds District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn, who will retire May 31 after nearly two decades of Judiciary service. Chief Judge Clyburn was appointed to the bench in 1995 and named District Court Chief Judge in 2004.

“It is a great honor to be selected for this key leadership position, and I look forward to supporting the mission and vision for this branch of government,” Judge Morrissey said. “I, too, share Chief Judge Barbera’s dedication to advancing the District Court as a model for fairness and efficiency, and I look forward to continuing the work that has made Maryland a model for others to follow. I thank Chief Judge Clyburn for his tremendous leadership and I look forward to working with him to ensure a seamless transition.”

As the administrative head of the statewide court, Judge Morrissey will oversee the operations of 34 locations and nearly 2,000 employees, including 116 state judges. The District Court of Maryland has an annual budget of $165 million and processes more than 1.7 million cases a year. District Court is typically the first point of contact for members of the public who interact with the court system. Judge Morrissey will also manage the launch the Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) initiative, which includes e-filing and other online capabilities, within the District Court system.

“I am pleased to welcome Judge Morrissey as a member of my leadership team. He is a seasoned jurist with an exceptional background in complex administrative and civil litigation who can provide an invaluable perspective on many policy and fiscal matters facing our state courts,” Chief Judge Barbera said.

“Chief Judge Clyburn has established a tremendous legacy of fiscal responsibility and accountability, enhanced access to justice, and the integration of technology to streamline court processes,” Chief Judge Barbera added. “I want to thank him for his dedicated service. He will be greatly missed.”

Judge Morrissey will serve as a member of the Judicial Cabinet and the Judicial Council to advise Chief Judge Barbera on policies affecting the judicial system and to assist in the superintendence of the state courts. He will also serve on the Judiciary’s Legislative Committee and the Maryland Access to Justice Commission to ensure greater access to the state’s civil justice system.

“I believe Judge Morrissey is a great selection,” said Chief Judge Clyburn. “He has a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is a person of great integrity and is a staunch advocate for judicial professionalism.”

Since his appointment to the District Court in 2006, Judge Morrissey has presided over domestic violence, criminal, motor vehicle, civil, landlord-tenant, and bail review cases. He is a member of the Maryland Judicial Ethics Committee, the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, and chairs the Guidelines Committee. Judge Morrissey also serves on several technology committees created to integrate advanced technologies into the courts. He was named Judge of the Year in 2013-2014 by the Maryland State Bar Association Litigation Section.

Born in Washington, D.C., Judge Morrissey has been a resident of Prince George’s County for more than 40 years. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Baltimore Law Review. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, magna cum laude, from James Madison University. He is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Prince George’s County Bar Association, among other legal and civic organizations.

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NOTE: A higher-resolution photo is available from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.