Ethics question raised about court candidate

Letters, fax claim she's a judge, panel says

August 30, 2006|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,sun reporter

A candidate for the Orphans' Court of Baltimore City has erroneously suggested in official correspondence that she is a current member of the court, according to a letter released yesterday by the Maryland Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee.

The committee criticized Ramona Moore Baker for having a business card and signing letters as "Ramona Moore Baker, Judge of The Orphans Court. Balt. City" and for sending a fax with the heading "Judge of the Orphans Court."

"It is the committee's determination that the materials disseminated by you or those under your authority ... are misleading," said the Aug. 28 letter, addressed to Moore Baker and signed by committee co-chairmen George Beall, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, and Stephen H. Sachs, a former Maryland attorney general. "They inescapably and improperly suggest to voters that you are already a judge on the Orphans' Court."

It also calls Moore Baker to task for using variations of her name in her campaign literature, such as "Ramona Moore, Ramona Baker-Moore, Ramona Moore-Baker and Ramona Moore Baker."

"These inconsistencies raise the question as to whether your affidavit of alternate name, filed concurrently with your certificate of candidacy, was accurate," the letter said.

Moore Baker, 48, an interpreter for the deaf, said last night in a telephone interview that her campaign Web site clearly states she is a candidate and that the top of her business card says "elect." According to a copy provided by the committee, the card says "Vote -BAKER."

"They're just pulling one page out. They were documents that were sent together as a group," she said, referring to the letters. "They're just pulling out one thing to make their point."

The committee, which was formed this year, has requested that candidates sign pledges to uphold ethical standards drafted by the committee. It has no authority to issue sanctions.

The letter stated that a previous letter sent to Moore Bakerdated Aug. 9 was not answered. The deadline for a response from Moore Baker was extended to Aug. 22, but she did not respond, the letter stated.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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