Judge Alfred Nance, chief judge of the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore, is facing expulsion from the judiciary for alleged unprofessional conduct during several cases he presided over in 2015. The Commission on Judicial Disabilities, which investigated Judge Nance, issued their findings on Oct. 18.
The allegations against the judge include: publicly humiliating and embarrassing a defendant, questioning the integrity of and threatening to jail a lawyer without cause who was arguing a case before him and being rude to jurors, witnesses, law enforcement personnel and others in his courtroom among other things according to documents from the commission.
During a 2015 murder trial, Judge Nance told the public defender Deborah Katz Levi , “Shut up a minute and listen!” according to the charging document from the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, which adjudicates these matters. In another 2015 proceeding, this time for a defendant attempting to plead guilty, Judge Nance told the defendant he did not want to accept a plea deal and said, “You wanna play with yourself in front of me and I’ll give you three years for contempt. You wanna play with yourself wait until you get back to your cell.”
Judge Nance in his response to the allegations denied that he violated the judicial code of conduct and asked for the charges to be dismissed.
Following a public hearing in Sept. the Commission voted unanimously that Judge Nance be removed from the bench for violating the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct multiple times. The Commission’s decision now goes to the Court of Appeals, which will make the decision on whether or not to remove the judge. The last time a judge was removed was 1984. Stanley Bennett was removed for forging another District Court judge’s signature. The Court of Appeals has not yet set a date to consider the judge’s removal, according to a spokesman for the Commission.
This is not Judge Nance’s first time before the Commission. He reportedly was reprimanded in 2001 and in 2004. Those charges were dismissed against him.
Judge Nance’s lawyer, William Brennan Jr. of Greenbelt, Md. based Brennan McKenna Mitchell & Shay, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.