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News From Around The Baltimore Region

July 17, 2005

Thomas Ward

Occupation: retired Baltimore City Circuit Court judge

In the news: Ward is presiding over the high-profile triple-murder trial of Policarpio Espinoza, 23, and Adan Canela, 18, two Mexican immigrants accused of slashing the throats of their three young relatives. The trial began more than a week ago and is expected to stretch into next month.

High-profile career: A circuit judge for 15 years before retiring in 1997, Ward is a 1953 graduate of the University of Maryland Law School. He estimates that he sits on the bench about two months each year, called in as a substitute. Ward was a reporter for The Sun from 1951 to 1954 and served on the City Council from 1963 to 1967. A historic preservationist, Ward helped prevent the extension of Interstate 70 through Leakin Park and downtown Baltimore.

Off the bench: The 78-year-old Baltimore native, who has lived in Bolton Hill for five decades, seems to be a gentleman from another time. He has never owned a television set; floor-to-ceiling bookcases in his home are lined with history books; and he walks to and from work. Ward also owns a farm in West Virginia, where he raises cattle and runs a timber business. He was a boxer at Georgetown University and an Army paratrooper.

In the courtroom: His courtroom is the picture of efficiency and predictability. He told jurors in the murder trial that he can count on one hand the number of times he has ever kept jurors later than 5 p.m. Perhaps it's because of that walk home.

-- Julie Bykowicz

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