Voter guide: Annette DeCesaris, Judge of the Circuit Court (5)

Annette DeCesaris

Candidate for Judge of the Circuit Court, 5

Age 59

Residence Lothian, Maryland

Occupation Lawyer


  • University of Baltimore School of Law, Baltimore, MD
  • 08/93 to 12/97, Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
  • 09/89 to 05/93, Master of Arts in Administrative Management
  • Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD
  • 09/79 to 05/83, Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude
  • Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD
  • 09/78-05/79, concurrent with high school

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    Previous political experience

    I have not held a political office.

    Why are you running for office?

    I am running for Circuit Court Judge for Anne Arundel County because I am more qualified than any of the other candidates running for Judge. I was a Public High School Teacher and a coach for 6 years, a business manager for 10 years and a lawyer for 22 years with a main focus on family matters and civil litigation. I have vast experiences which allow me to effectively communicate with others and to be considerate of their views and concerns. More importantly, I will serve our community with integrity, honesty and fairness by being respectful to all parties involved in our legal system in a just manner based upon the facts and applicable law of each matter without bias towards or against any party appearing before as a Judge.

    Should judges be elected?

    Yes. The Maryland Constitution supports my position that judges should be elected. It is the right and privilege of Marylanders to elect Circuit Court Judges and every voter should be able to choose the best candidate for such an important local office.

    Should judges accept political contributions from members of the bar who may appear before them?

    I believe that it is inappropriate for judges to accept political contributions from members of the bar who appear before judges. Clearly, such a practice leaves the general public with the impression that judges who do accept such contributions may be bias in favor of parties represented by lawyers who have contributed money to a candidate for judge.

    Should the appointment process Maryland currently uses to select judges be changed?

    I understand why we have our current appointment process in that every time a judge’s position becomes vacant, having an election to allow the people to choose a replacement for a judicial vacancy is not cost effective or efficient. However, the system that we do have, albeit very political and unfair to many applicants, is a method to fill a judicial vacancy until the voters have the opportunity to choose their candidate for Circuit Court Judge by way of fair and honest elections.

    Are you an advocate for diversion programs such as drug court, veterans court and other paths to help defendants avoid jail?

    I am an advocate for diversion programs including drug court, veterans’ court and other methods of rehabilitation, without warehousing people in jail, based upon the facts and applicable laws of each criminal matter.

    Should MDEC be adjusted to end the practice of preventing court files from being sealed without judicial review?


    Should law enforcement officers' names be removed from online court records?

    I do not believe that law enforcement officers’ names should be removed from online court records unless there is clear and present danger to the officer if his or her name is included in the online court records.

    Should a judge's record of being overturned or upheld on appeal be easily available to the public.

    I believe that a judge’s record of being overturned or upheld on appeal should be easily available to the public because it provides transparency and confidence in our judiciary. Moreover, it provides voters information about judges who they may consider voted for or against during an election.

    Which is more important, sentencing guidelines or judicial discretion?

    Clearly, it would depend on the facts and applicable law of each criminal manner so that a convicted person is fairly treated at sentencing; however, it is a very important balancing act to protect victims, their family members and the general public.

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