Judge Mitchell to relinquish Circuit Court docket duties

Berger will take over the post in January

September 03, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Judge Stuart R. Berger has been named to replace Judge David B. Mitchell in overseeing the criminal docket of Baltimore Circuit Court, beginning in January.

The court's Administrative Judge Ellen M. Heller announced the change Friday, saying that Mitchell had decided to relinquish the duties and she had accepted his decision "with great reluctance."

Mitchell became judge-in-charge of the criminal docket in January 1999, and, according to the state court system announcement, oversaw reforms that include reorganizing its management, adopting a strict postponement policy, implementing a new discovery court and adding another felony judge to the bench.

"As a result," the announcement said, "the pending inventory of criminal defendants awaiting trial has seen a major reduction."

Mitchell, 56, will remain a judge and will work on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group he has led that was established in 1999 to help solve problems in the criminal justice system and courts.

Berger, 42, has been on the city's circuit bench since December 1998, and served on the court's management, budget and personnel, and lead paint committees. He was formerly a trial attorney and specialist in criminal law.

"It was an easy decision, once asked," Berger said of the task he will be assuming next year.

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