Maryland Court of Special Appeals

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Court of Special Appeals
Seal of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.jpg
Composition methodAppointment by the Governor of Maryland
Authorized byMd. Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. § 1-401
Appeals toCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Number of positions15
Chief Judge
CurrentlyPatrick L. Woodward
Since6 May 2017
Lead position endsNovember 2018

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals is the intermediate appellate court for the U.S. state of Maryland. The Court of Special Appeals was created in 1966 in response to the rapidly growing caseload in the Maryland Court of Appeals. Like the state's highest court, the tribunal meets in the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in the state capital, Annapolis.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals originally could hear only criminal cases. However, its jurisdiction has expanded so that it now considers any reviewable judgment, decree, order, or other action of the circuit and orphans’ courts, unless otherwise provided by law. Judges sitting on the Court of Special Appeals generally hear and decide cases in panels of three. In some instances, however, all 15 judges may listen to a case, known as an en banc hearing.


Appointment and qualifications[edit]

The fifteen judges of the Court of Special Appeals are appointed by the Governor of Maryland with Senate consent. They serve ten-year terms.

The Judges of the court are required to be citizens of and qualified voters in Maryland. Prior to their appointment, they must have resided in Maryland for at least five years, and for at least six months in the appellate judicial circuit from which they are appointed. They must be at least thirty years of age at the time of appointment, and must have been admitted to practice law in Maryland. Appointees should be "most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge."

After initial appointment by the Governor and confirmation by the Senate, members of the court, at the first general election occurring at least one year after their appointment, run for continuance in office on their records without opposition. If the voters reject the retention in office of a judge, or the vote is tied, the office becomes vacant. Otherwise, the incumbent judge is retained in office for a ten-year term. This requirement of voter approval is similar to provisions in the Missouri Plan, a non-partisan method for selecting judges which is used by 11 states.

There are eight at large judges and one judge from each of the state's seven Appellate Judicial Circuits; the latter are required to be a resident of his or her respective circuit. The circuits are currently as follows:

Current Judges[edit]

In order of decreasing seniority, the current judges on the court are:

  • Judge Timothy E. Meredith, 5th Appellate Circuit
  • Judge Alexander Wright, Jr., At Large
  • Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff, 3rd Appellate Circuit
  • Judge Christopher B. Kehoe, 1st Appellate Circuit
  • Judge Stuart R. Berger, At Large
  • Judge Douglas R. M. Nazarian, 2nd Appellate Circuit
  • Judge Kevin F. Arthur, At Large
  • Judge Andrea M. Leahy, At Large
  • Judge Michael W. Reed, 6th Appellate Circuit
  • Judge Dan Friedman, At Large
  • Judge Donald E. Beachley, At Large
  • Judge Melanie Marva Shaw Geter, 4th Appellate Circuit
  • Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader, At Large
  • Judge E. Gregory Wells, At Large
  • Judge Steven B. Gould, 7th Appellate Circuit

See also[edit]

External links[edit]