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For Immediate Release

Howard and Carroll County District Courts Host Visit from Chief Judge

(WESTMINSTER, Md. – May 15, 2014) The District Courts in Howard and Carroll Counties hosted Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera today when she toured District Court facilities in Ellicott City and Westminster.

“We were very happy to have Chief Judge Barbera and State Court Administrator Pamela Harris visit today. I was especially pleased to be able to spotlight the hard work and dedication of the people I have the privilege of working with,” said Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones, Administrative Judge for District 10 (Carroll and Howard Counties).

“We rank near the top of the state for what is called case time standards, which is about moving cases forward in a timely manner,” Judge Ellinghaus-Jones said. “Being efficient helps achieve the Judiciary’s goal to provide timely access to justice for the public we serve, and that is thanks to the hard work and coordinated team effort of everyone here, from commissioners to clerks to judges.”

In Howard County, Chief Judge Barbera and Harris met with Judge Pamila J. Brown, Judge Sue-Ellen Hantman, Judge Mary C. Reese, and Judge Ricardo D. Zwaig.

During a tour of the Howard County District Court facilities, Nancy E. Mueller, Administrative Clerk for District 10, introduced Chief Judge Barbera and Harris to County Clerk Kelly L. Parks, the members of the clerk’s office and court staff, and commissioners.

“We’ve never had the ‘chief-chief’ judge visit our courts, so this is a wonderful event. The state’s chief judge and the state court administrator are the real face of the Judiciary for us, our Judiciary VIPs,” Mueller said. “Just as we are so happy to welcome Chief Judge Barbera and Pam Harris to our workplace, I also think this is a great way for our leaders to keep in touch with what is going on out in the ‘real world’ of day-to-day court operations.”

Mueller is retiring in June after 44 years with the District Court of Maryland. Her successor, M. Kay Smith, led the tour of the Carroll County District Court. Before her appointment as Administrative Clerk for District 10, Smith was County Clerk of the District Court for Carroll County.

“I just started my duties as administrative clerk yesterday, so this was a thrilling and very memorable way to begin,” Smith said. “We were all so excited to have face-to-face, personal time with Chief Judge Barbera and Pam Harris. I was very impressed by their attention to detail, their thoughtful questions, and the fact that they took time to meet everyone.”

“I think one of the true values of today’s visit is that it validates the clerks and staff. They’re here every day, putting in their best efforts to serve the public and keep the courts working efficiently,” said Judge Ellinghaus-Jones. “It would be easy to overlook them, and Chief Judge Barbera is showing how much they are valued, how much she appreciates their dedication.”

“I was pleased to have the opportunity today to thank Judge Ellinghaus-Jones for her exemplary management and leadership of District 10, and to meet and talk to Judge Brown, Judge Hantman, Judge Reese, and Judge Zwaig, who are the face of the Judiciary in their community. I had the rare chance to visit behind the scenes to explore how their courts operate and get to know the dedicated professionals who make the work of the courts possible. I was privileged to meet Ms. Mueller and thank her for her many years of excellent service, and to congratulate Ms. Smith for her appointment as Administrative Clerk for District 10.”

Visiting all the State’s Circuit and District Courts has been a priority for Chief Judge Barbera since she was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley last July to head Maryland’s court system.

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