Judge Clayton Greene Jr,. speaking at Anne Arundel Community College in 2017, has retired from the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Judge Clayton Greene Jr,. speaking at Anne Arundel Community College in 2017, has retired from the Court of Appeals of Maryland. (File Photo)

Clayton Greene Jr., who rose from a law clerk for a public defender to judge on Maryland's highest court, has retired.

No public announcement was made, but a Court of Appeals opinion this week noted that Greene had heard the case and deliberated with fellow judges, but retired before the opinion was finalized.

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No one answered the phone in Greene’s chambers on Friday, though state government was closed for the day.

Greene’s retirement was first reported by The Daily Record newspaper.

Greene was raised in Freetown, a historically African American neighborhood in northern Anne Arundel County. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland School of Law, Greene worked as a lawyer in private practice, as a public defender and as Anne Arundel County’s assistant county solicitor before becoming a judge.

Greene served as a judge in District Court and Circuit Court in Anne Arundel County before being appointed to the Court of Special Appeals — the state’s second-highest court — in 2002. In 2004, Greene was elevated to the Court of Appeals.

Greene’s seat on the Court of Appeals is for the 5th Judicial Circuit, which includes Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. No information is posted yet for applicants for the vacant seat.

Appeals court judges are appointed by the governor.

In a 2002 interview with The Capital, Greene credited his parents, Evelyn and Clayton Sr., with inspiring his work ethic.

“My parents always told me that I could have anything I wanted in life, provided I work for it,” he said.

At the time, he shared his judicial philosophy: “I think I am accessible, even-tempered, fair — but firm in my convictions. I treat everybody the same, whether you’re black or white, whether you’re young or old, whether you’re rich or poor.”

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