: News

Filed Under:

Ballot Measure Would Bar Lay Judges From Maryland Orphans' Court

Play associated audio

A measure on the ballot in Maryland would end a 200-year tradition that allows lay-people to work as judges who settle wills, estates, and guardianship of minors. The Orphans' Court ballot question would only affect Baltimore City, but the Maryland constitution requires that all voters in the state get a say.

Only about one-third of Maryland Orphans' Court judges are attorneys. The constitutional amendment on the ballot would require all three judges of the Baltimore Orphans' Court to be lawyers in good standing.

"The question is, should we just turn it all over to the lawyers or should we allow people in the community to participate in this process?" says John Willis, former Maryland Secretary of State.

Willis, who now teaches public policy at the University of Baltimore, says the question of who is qualified to judge is not a theoretical issue.

"One of the nominees for the Orphans' Court is not a lawyer and would be ineligible if this amendment were passed," he says.

Willis says based on history, the amendment will likely pass in most Maryland counties, with one exception: Garrett County, which consistently votes against measures that have something to do with Baltimore City.

NPR

Aviator Beryl Markham Soars Again In 'Paris Wife' Author's New Book

"It is my fate to illuminate the lives of these one-of-a-kind notable women that have been somehow forgotten by history," says Paula McClain. She shines her spotlight on Markham in Circling the Sun.
NPR

At The Purple Pie Place, Where The Crusts Are Just Sweet Enough

Bobkat's Purple Pie Place is a fixture in Custer, S.D. From chicken pot pie to strawberry rhubarb, Trevor Yehlie and his family have been baking and serving pies at the local favorite since 2009.
NPR

SuperPACs Report Their Funds — And The Numbers Are Staggering

SuperPACs released their latest funding numbers Friday, and already it's clear that the committees' roles in 2016 will be gargantuan.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.