Baltimore Judge Martin P. Welch, who's served on the city's circuit court for 18 years, has become the new chief judge, replacing John N. Prevas, who died of a heart attack Monday.
The title is bestowed on the most senior judge, who then presides over judicial ceremonies and signs official correspondence, including summonses. It doesn't come with a salary increase — just prestige.
Welch, who was named to the post Tuesday, is thought to be the city's second black chief judge, behind Clifton J. Gordy, who briefly held the post in 2006 before retiring. Prevas, whose funeral was held Friday, took over in November of that year.
Welch, 57, was born in Baltimore. He attended Catonsville Senior High School and graduated with a bachelors of science from Frostburg State College. He attended the University of Maryland School of Law, and was admitted to the bar in 1980. He spent 12 years in the Baltimore City Law Department before his appointment to the bench in 1992. He was the Judge in Charge of the juvenile docket from 1995 to 2006.