Richard M. Pollitt, retired judge

December 19, 1992|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Richard Malone Pollitt, a retired judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals who while sitting on the Wicomico County Circuit Court was involved in a historic criminal sentencing, died Thursday of heart failure at his Williamsburg, Va., home.

Services for Judge Pollitt, who was 65, were to be conducted at 2 p.m. today at Allen Asbury United Methodist Church in Allen, Wicomico County.

Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Judge Pollitt was appointed to the Circuit Court in 1972 by then-Gov. Marvin Mandel and to the Court of Special Appeals in 1986 by then-Gov. Harry R. Hughes.

While on the Circuit Court in August 1979, Judge Pollitt sentenced Richard D. Tichnell to death under the state's new capital punishment law that allowed defendants to choose whether a jury or judge sentenced them.

The case was the first in which the new law was used but Tichnell was never executed. The last execution in Maryland occurred in 1961.

Tichnell had been found guilty of the murder of David G. Livengood, a 32-year-old Garrett County deputy sheriff who had discovered him and a confederate robbing a military surplus store of $1,400 worth of weapons.

Judge Pollitt was born in Allen and graduated from the old Salisbury State Teachers College and, in 1949, from the University of Maryland School of Law.

He practiced law in Salisbury and represented the now-defunct State Roads Commission in property-condemnation cases.

He also served as attorney for the town of Fruitland and in the Wicomico state's attorney's office.

He retired from the appellate court in 1989.

Before his appointment to the bench, he was a member of the Democratic Party on the Eastern Shore and was president of the Wicomico Young Democrats.

Judge Pollitt was a charter member and past president of the Allen Lions Club, a life member of Elks Lodge 817 in Salisbury and a member and former trustee of Allen Asbury Church.

His first wife, Margaret Harrington Pollitt, died in 1973. His brother Jesse was sheriff of Wicomico County at the time of his death in 1960.

Survivors include his wife, Jane Taylor Pollitt; two children, Richard M. Pollitt Jr. of Allen and Susan P. Knowles of West Chester, Pa.; a stepdaughter, Suzanne Alexander of Salisbury; two stepsons, William M. Taylor of Los Angeles and Thomas W. Taylor of Temperanceville, Va.; two sisters, Mary Lee P. Kolb and Kathryn P. Carey, both of Allen; and a number of grandchildren, step-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews and cousins.

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