Joseph I. Pines

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Served As Chairman Of Appeals Board, Later Was Lecturer And Volunteer

April 19, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Joseph I. Pines, a retired Baltimore Circuit Court judge and volunteer, died Thursday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Arden Courts, an assisted-living facility in Pikesville. He was 87.

Judge Pines, the son of a grocer, was born Joseph I. Pinas in New York City. In 1947, he changed his name to Pines.

In 1925, he moved to Baltimore with his family and settled on East Biddle Street. His father established a grocery store on Orleans Street and later moved to Liberty Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, when he opened a store.

Judge Pines was a 1939 graduate of City College and earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1942.

He earned a master's degree in law from the University of Baltimore in 1948 and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975.

When he earned his second master's degree, Judge Pines explained in an interview with The Sun that he did it "just to round out my professional and cultural background."

During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a navigator and radio operator aboard B-24 bombers in the Pacific.

After passing the Maryland Bar in 1946, he began practicing law and later became a partner in the firm of Israelson, Pines & Jackson.

In addition to his legal practice, from 1953 to 1961 Judge Pines served as chairman of the state Appeals Board, which operated as a liquor licensing board in a number of Maryland counties.

Despite undergoing open-heart surgery in the 1970s, he continued to maintain a vigorous legal practice.

In 1975, he joined the Baltimore law firm of Levin, Gann & Hankin, where he practiced until being named in 1980 to Baltimore's Supreme Bench, which later became the Baltimore Circuit Court, by Gov. Harry R. Hughes.

"I'm going to assume the role of referee after being a combatant [in private practice] for 35 years," he told The Evening Sun.

He had toured China several weeks before his appointment and told the newspaper that the "view from the Supreme Bench is just as spectacular as the view from atop the Great Wall of China."

"We've been close friends for years, and I remember when he came on the bench. During his years there he did a first-rate job because he had good legal training and had done years of trial work," said retired Circuit Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan.

"He had a very even-tempered demeanor and was always very fair," Judge Kaplan said. "I was the administrative judge for a lot of the years he was on the bench, and I never heard one complaint about his mistreating someone."

Judge Kaplan said Judge Pines was an active and enthusiastic member of the Tuesday Club, an organization of city officials and members of the judicial and legal community who met over a weekly lunch at the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

"We discussed a lot of issues and solved a lot of the city's problems at those lunches," Judge Kaplan recalled.

A 1992 article in The Evening Sun said that courthouse colleagues had described him as a "hard-working, effective and patient judge" who was also a "scholar and a gentleman."

Judge Pines had been a longtime Cross Keys resident and earlier had lived in Mount Washington.

His professional memberships included serving as president of the Maryland Trial Lawyers' Association and chairman of the character committee of Maryland's 8th Judicial Circuit, Court of Appeals.

He also lectured at the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore law schools and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

He retired in 1992.

Long active in community affairs, Judge Pines had also been president of the Urban League of Baltimore, vice president of the Baltimore Jewish Council, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of Maryland and a board member of the Jewish Family and Children's Society.

"After he retired, he was a volunteer tutor in city public schools, where he taught reading," said his son, David E. Pines of Media, Pa.

Judge Pines was an avid art collector and enjoyed collecting the works of Herman Maril, Aaron Sopher and Donald Cole. He also had an extensive collection of decoys, his son said.

He enjoyed fishing and boating on the Chesapeake Bay and had been a golfer and a member of the Chestnut Ridge Country Club.

Services for Judge Pines will be held at 11 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

His wife of more than 60 years, Marcia C. Pines, a retired health administrator in public health programs at the Johns Hopkins University, died last Sunday at Sinai Hospital.

Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Ellen W. Pines, a brother, Dr. Samuel Pines, and a sister, Esther Miller, all of Baltimore; and a grandson.

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