Mary Ann R. Ince, ex-deputy chief of criminal appeals division in Maryland’s office of the attorney general, dies

Mary Ann R. Ince, ex-deputy chief of criminal appeals division in Maryland’s office of the attorney general, dies
Mary Ann R. Ince was deputy chief of the criminal appeals division of Maryland's office of the attorney general from 2008 to 2018. (Handout)

Mary Ann Ince, former deputy chief of the criminal appeals division in Maryland’s office of the attorney general who earlier had studied music before pursuing a legal career, died July 22 of cancer at her home in Colleyville, Texas. The former Towson resident was 72.

“Mary Ann Ince has left us too early, but her legacy of public service in Maryland will endure. She accomplished what all who enter public service hope to do: she made a difference. Maryland is better for her service,” Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera wrote in an email Tuesday.


The former Mary Ann Rapp, the daughter of Christian Joseph “Joe” Rapp, a Westinghouse Electric Corp. vice president, and his wife, Mary Margaret Rapp, an executive secretary, was born in Pittsburgh, the eldest of six siblings.

She moved with her family to Hampton, S.C., and was a graduate of St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines Academy in Asheville, N.C. A pianist, she was a 1969 graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music, after which she taught music in Pittsburgh.

“She came to the realization after talking to a professor that she was not going to be in the top tier as a professional pianist in order to make a living without a great deal of practice," said her husband of 33 years, IIhan Ince, an electrical engineer. “She internalized that and then decided to study law.”

After earning her law degree in 1978 from Duquesne University Law School, where she had been a member of the Appellate Moot Court Board, she completed an honors clerkship with Judge Joseph F. Weiss of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

Ms. Ince passed the Pennsylvania bar in 1978 and began practicing general law with Martin and Martin P.C. in Trevose, Pa., in both state and federal courts, including litigation in civil, criminal, orphans’ court, domestic and juvenile cases, as well as administrative municipal and magistrates’ proceedings.

In 1982, she became a staff attorney for the Pennsylvania Superior Court where she was able through her “knowledge of the rules of civil, criminal and appellate procedure and excellent research, writing and organizational abilities to research complex issues and recommend appropriate dispositions," according to her resume.

Ms. Ince left the practice in 1987 of law when she had her daughter, Aylin Ince, and returned to work in 1990 when she became an assistant attorney general in criminal appeals division of Maryland’s office of the attorney general.

The division litigates all appeals in Maryland criminal cases, including postconviction, coram nobis, which after a person has been convicted of a crime and served their sentence is the only way they can vacate their conviction, juvenile delinquency, violation of probation, state habeas corpus, writ of actual innocence, DNA testing, expungement and extradition matters.

Ms. Ince was responsible for researching, briefing and orally arguing appeals in the Maryland Court of Appeals, Court of Special Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. She also prepared and filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court.

From 2004 to 2008, she was deputy chief of the division, and was acting chief for three months, in 2008, when she was named deputy chief, a position she held for a decade until retiring in 2018.

Her husband said she had a “love for advocacy."

"In Maryland alone, she wrote over 1,000 briefs in the appellate courts and represented Maryland in nearly 200 cases that resulted in reported opinions,” he wrote in a profile of his wife.

“A small sample of the impact she made includes: defending the State in Scott v. State, the seminal Court of Appeals case defining the ‘law of the case doctrine;’ successfully challenging the Court of Special Appeals’ opinion in State v. Martin Prado saving hundreds of convictions from reversal; and convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to summarily reverse the Court of Appeals in Maryland v. Kulbicki,” her husband wrote.

“Mary Ann was a dear friend, excellent lawyer, and respected colleague,” Cathleen C. Brockmeyer, deputy chief of the criminal appeals division, wrote in an email.


“Mary Ann litigated each appeal with wisdom, experience, intellect and sound judgement. She was instrumental in developing coram nobis, juvenile, and post-conviction law in Maryland and served as a mentor to many of the attorneys who practiced with her during her more than twenty-five years in the Criminal Appeals Division.”

Ms. Brockmeyer shared an office with Ms. Ince when she joined the division in 1990 and “quickly became friends because Mary Ann had a wonderful sense of humor and was such a kind person,” she wrote.

When Ms. Brockmeyer returned to the division in 2005, where they reinstated the division lunch table “where on any given day, the topics of conversation ranged from talk about cases and issues to sharing family stories. When vacation plans were discussed, Mary Ann was the first to pull out ‘The Atlas,’ ” Ms. Brockmeyer wrote.

Carrie J. Williams, division chief in the criminal appeals division, wrote in an email that when she became division chief in 2016, “I sought her counsel nearly every days, and she always gave it graciously.”

“Mary Ann served the citizens of Maryland for 27 years, shaping Maryland criminal law in ways that affect us all every day.”

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“Mary Ann served the citizens of Maryland for 27 years, shaping Maryland criminal law in ways that affect us all every day,” Williams wrote.

“Mary Ann was my mentor, colleague and friend. Her positivity and kindness made the division a better place to work. She was generous with her time and advice — she was often seen in her office speaking at length with another attorney who was having trouble with a case.”

Ms. Ince held licenses to practice law in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas and at the federal level with the Supreme Court, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court of Maryland. She was also a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court and Tarrant County Bar Association in Texas.

For her work with the criminal appeals division, she was presented the J. Joseph Curran Jr. Exceptional Career Service Award, which is named for the state’s former longtime attorney general.

Ms. Williams said Ms. Ince enjoyed office parties and celebrations and was always willing to prepare pimento sandwiches or king cake for Mardi Gras.

“In those times, she reminded me to take a moment and enjoy the day,” she wrote in her email. “I am grateful that I had an opportunity to work with Mary Ann and to learn from her for all those years. She will be missed.”

Ms. Ince was an inveterate world traveler.

“Mary Ann traveled a lot, including the Mediterranean, and to Ireland,” Ms. Brockmeyer wrote. “Mary Ann’s inquisitive nature led her to prepare for her trips by reading mysteries set in the cities she planned on visiting. One of her favorites was a series about a detective in Venice, Italy.”


Ms. Brockmeyer and her husband were frequent traveling companions with Ms. Ince and her husband.

“More recently, she and I and our husbands traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Alaska, where Mary Ann’s adventurous side was on full display,” she wrote. “In Alaska, she caught a salmon, flew in a float plane over an iceberg, and traversed a suspension bridge over a crevice, all firsts for her.”

She added: “I will miss Mary Ann’s genuineness; she was a great friend and person.”

Ms. Ince, who moved to Colleyville last year, enjoyed playing bridge, golfing and doing crossword puzzles.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughter, Aylin Ince of San Jose, Calif., her mother, Mary Margaret Rapp of Grand Rapids, Mich.; a brother, Joseph Rapp of Jay, Maine; four sisters, Kathleen Smith of Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Joan Owen of Aiken, S.C., Chris Harvey of Traverse City, Mich., and Margaret Slade of Grand Rapids.