Newsmaker

January 28, 2007|By [Julie Bykowicz]

Wanda Keyes Heard

Occupation

Baltimore Circuit Court judge

In the news

Heard presided over the trial of Jemini Jones, a Baltimore police officer charged with raping a woman he had arrested. The trial ended last week with a jury finding Jones not guilty.

On the bench

A Circuit Court judge for eight years and daughter of a former Baltimore public schools superintendent, Heard combines her legal knowledge with her life experience when making rulings or guiding a jury. In the fall of 2005, Heard threw out crucial evidence in a handgun case, saying "personal experience and common sense" led her to believe a convicted felon's story about a search over the word of a city officer. Before becoming a judge, the 1982 University of Maryland law school graduate was a city and federal prosecutor - including a three-year stint in the Virgin Islands -and worked briefly as a federal public defender.

Off the bench

During a break one day in Jones' trial, Heard chatted with the defense attorney, Janice L. Bledsoe, and the prosecutor, Assistant State's Attorney JoAnne Stanton. Later, Heard told courtroom observers that she knew both women well. Stanton was once her law clerk, and she and Bledsoe had fenced together.

Philosophy

"It is very important to me that justice is served in my courtroom, that the rights of the parties are protected. I represent sort of an independent arbiter capable of ensuring that those rights are protected to the best of my abilities. I do my very best every day that I come onto the bench. I take what I do very seriously. And if I didn't mention it, I love my job."

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