The noise of rustling papers and hurried footsteps at the Prince George's County Courthouse subside inside the second-floor office of Chief Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. Adjacent to his desk, a Panasonic radio softly plays classical music in the background as Nichols signs search warrants from local detectives.
"This is how my day generally starts," said Nichols, chuckling.
Forty years on the bench, Nichols was serving his last week as the 19th Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Maryland. Nichols retired on June 23 — his 70th birthday — as required by the state law that sets a mandatory retirement age for judges.
The fifth-generation Laurel resident...