Maryland's panel that oversees judicial conduct has set a seven-day hearing in July to consider disciplinary charges brought against Baltimore Circuit Judge Alfred J. Nance.
The Commission on Judicial Disabilities posted a notice Tuesday saying it will hold a hearing from July 10 to 14, and on July 17 and 18, on charges that Nance, 68, had a series of "persistently disrespectful and unprofessional" interactions with a public defender. The charges represent at least the third time the Commission on Judicial Disabilities has publicly moved to discipline Nance.
The number days scheduled for the hearing appear unusual — hearings for other judges over the past four years were scheduled for two days or less, records show.
The commission cited the judge's actions in four cases in documents made public in January. In one of them, a murder case, Nance mocked and scolded Deborah K. Levi before threatening to throw her in jail and ordering a mistrial, saying he thought she was so ineffective that jurors would hold it against her client. The defendant ended up going free because a different judge said a second trial would constitute double jeopardy.
Nance also "routinely directed his ire at jurors, litigants, attorneys, defendants, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, and other persons present in the courtroom," the commission said.
In a response to the commission, Nance denied that he violated the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct and asked for the charges to be dismissed. Nance told the commission that he was using his authority to manage the conduct of people in the courtroom, referring to Levi as "recalcitrant."
Nance is a former public defender and private attorney who was appointed to the bench as an associate judge in 1997, and was re-elected to 15-year terms in 1998 and 2014. He was previously been accused of inappropriate behavior, including receiving a rare public reprimand in 2001 after female prosecutors complained that he had an explosive temper and made comments about their appearance.