Ethics case alleging disrespectful conduct by top Baltimore judge is dismissed after his resignation

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Maryland’s top court has dismissed a misconduct case alleging Baltimore’s former chief judge made “undignified, condescending and unprofessional” comments in trial interactions with a public defender.

The Maryland Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint against Judge Alfred Nance as moot after he resigned Dec. 1, report the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Daily Record and the Legal Profession Blog. Nance’s retirement prevents the court from interfering with his pension, according to the Daily Record.

Maryland’s Commission on Judicial Disabilities had recommended that Nance, 69, be removed from the bench, partly for “gratuitous, insensitive, inflammatory and relentless” comments and body language. The mandatory retirement age is 70.

The commission had cited comments to a defense lawyer in two trials in 2015, as well as statements to a defendant and a witness. News reports identified the defense lawyer as Assistant Public Defender Deborah Levi.

Nance had told the defense lawyer to “shut up and listen,” and asked if she had lost her mind. The statements were made in bench conferences or when jurors were excused. In front of jurors, he had also made disparaging comments, including: “You are here to represent your ego,” “Watch the smirk on her face,” and, “If counsel wants to testify, we will be glad to let you take the stand.”

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