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Maryland's highest court dismisses discipline case against former Baltimore Judge Nance

Former Chief Judge Alfred Nance
Former Chief Judge Alfred Nance (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Maryland’s highest court has dismissed a disciplinary case against Baltimore’s former Chief Judge Alfred Nance, following his resignation.

The order by the Court of Appeals, signed by Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, said that Nance filed a motion to dismiss in light of his resignation on Dec. 1, and that he declared that he would not seek to hear cases as a retired judge.

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The order said there was no opposition filed.

The appellate court was to decide whether Nance should be punished for remarks he made during criminal trials two years ago.

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The state Commission on Judicial Disabilities found in October that Nance made disparaging and demeaning comments that undermined the integrity of the court, and the panel voted unanimously to recommend the appeals judges strip Nance of his elected post just months before he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Baltimore’s chief judge stepped down Friday and before the Maryland Court of Appeals could decide whether to expel Alfred Nance after his two decades on the bench.

The case before the judicial oversight panel centered on Nance’s encounters with Assistant Public Defender Deborah Levi, whom prosecutors said Nance dismissively referred to as “lady,” “mother hen” and “child.” They said Nance once told Levi to “shut up” and threatened to throw her in jail. She filed a complaint against Nance with the commission.

During a four-day hearing in Annapolis in September, Nance’s attorney defended him by saying that the judge was “old-school,” “formal,” and “stern.”

Nance previously received a public reprimand in 2001 after female prosecutors complained that he had an explosive temper and commented on their appearance. In 2004, the commission dismissed other charges of misconduct brought against him.

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