Journalist's Guide

Commission on Judicial Disabilities The Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities is a constitutionally mandated body of the Maryland State Government. Its primary mission is to investigate allegations of misconduct or disability against Maryland judges, and is the primary disciplinary body for the Maryland judiciary. Under certain circumstances, judges may also be subject to disciplinary action by the Governor and the Maryland legislature. The Commission has no authority to change a decision made by a Maryland judge, nor can it direct a judge as to how to decide a case. Parties who disagree with the judge’s ruling must seek redress either with the original court or through the appellate process. The Commission conducts public hearings and may take formal or informal action after affording the judge proper notice and an opportunity to be heard. If, as a result of the hearing, the Commission by a majority vote decides a judge should be retired, removed, censured, or publicly reprimanded, it recommends that course of action to the Court of Appeals, which may order a more severe sanction than the Commission recommends. To file a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, a complainant must make a sworn written statement. Complaints and investigations are confidential unless the Commission votes to take a public action. The Commission may, under certain circumstances, issue an explanatory statement about decisions it makes. The Commission is comprised of 11 members: three judges, three lawyers, and five public members who are neither judges nor lawyers. Members are appointed by the Governor, subject to approval by the Maryland Senate, for a period of four years. The Commission publishes its findings and an annual report online at Attorney Grievance Commission The Attorney Grievance Commission investigates and prosecutes violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct by Maryland lawyers, and anyone practicing law in Maryland without a license. Unlike the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Attorney Grievance Commission does not conduct public proceedings of its own. Instead, when the Commission decides a public complaint is appropriate, it initiates proceedings in the Court of Appeals, which may delegate the case to a Circuit Court for fact-finding and a recommended disposition. The Court of Appeals makes the final decision on whether and how to discipline attorneys. Sanctions include disbarments, suspensions, and reprimands. The Commission publishes the names of all sanctioned attorneys online, and an annual report at Maryland Tax Court Although the Maryland Tax Court is called a “court,” it is an administrative agency. The Tax Court hears appeals from decisions by the state Comptroller’s office, the state Department of Assessments and Taxation and other final assessing or taxing authorities regarding the valuation, assessment or classification of property, the levy of a tax abatement, reduction or revision, or any assessment, or tax or exemption from tax. The Court consists of five judges appointed by the Governor. No more than three may be of the same political party. All must be qualified voters of


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