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By Nicole Fuller and Nicole Fuller,sun reporter | August 30, 2006
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.
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NEWS
Dan Rodricks | June 26, 2014
People of a certain age will appreciate this: Charles G. "Chuck" Bernstein, who loved being a Baltimore circuit judge so much that he made a federal case out of his mandatory retirement at 70, appears to have been elected a judge again. If the tally from Tuesday's primary holds up, Bernstein will return to the bench at the age of 75. He'll probably ride his bike to work, too. The Orphans' Court of Baltimore City does not require its three judges to retire at a particular age. (It didn't even require a law degree until four years ago.)
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NEWS
November 7, 2012
The year is 2012. Isn't it about time the state of Maryland came up with some name a bit more 21st century than "Orphan's Court"? What a hillbilly name for a court in a supposedly up to date state! Douglas B. Hermann, Parkville
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2014
The chairman of the Baltimore City liquor board will step down from his post to take a position on the Orphans' Court. Stephan Fogleman, who was confirmed Friday by the Maryland State Senate, expects to be sworn in as a judge within the next 30 days. He will serve the remainder of the term and plans to run in the June primary for the next four-year term. Fogleman said he wants to make the experience for families that come before the probate court as smooth as possible, saying "It can be a very difficult time for families.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks | October 6, 2010
I love the Dickensian sound of it: the Orphans' Court. One hears the phrase delivered from the lips of Dame Judith Dench or Ian McKellen: "The Or- phans' Court. " It has existed in Maryland since 1777, and its name derives from London's Court for Widows and Orphans, where the children of deceased male landowners were considered orphans whose inheritance had to be protected. The Orphans' Court operates in Baltimore and all but two Maryland counties, and — news flash from the 18th Century!
NEWS
By Michael A. Fletcher and Michael A. Fletcher,Evening Sun Staff | November 27, 1990
City Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway is challenging the $60 fee that the Orphans' Court charges for hearings to appoint legal guardians and to settle estates.Baltimore is the only jurisdiction in the state that charges an Orphans' Court hearing fee, and Conaway has written Robert C. Murphy, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, and asked him to investigate the matter."What bothers me is that it is yet another fee imposed on people of Baltimore City," Conaway says.Conaway, who serves as clerk to the Orphans' Court, says many Baltimoreans cannot afford to pay the fee.RTC Murphy says he has received Conaway's letter and asked Susan Whiteford, a lawyer in the state attorney general's office, to examine its assertions.
NEWS
October 26, 1994
Charter Amendment A, which would allow appointment to county government positions on the basis of merit, has been proposed by Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker to streamline hiring guidelines.The current system requires that appointments be made from a list of the top 10 applicants, which often involved a time-consuming search and screening. Sometimes, 10 applicants couldn't be found. If this charter amendment passes, companion legislation would allow appointments to be culled from a list of no fewer than three candidates.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2013
A nonbinding referendum on whether residents want an elected county school board and elimination of the county's Orphans Court are among Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold's legislative priorities for this General Assembly session. "We should give the voters the right to have a direct say in who should oversee this 53 percent of the county budget," Leopold said of school system funding, hitting what has been a hot-button issue in the county for more than a decade. Leopold outlined his agenda Friday to the county's General Assembly delegation, giving legislators a mix of items affecting only the county and statewide legislative ideas, and drawing a mixed reception on his wish list.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer | April 29, 1994
A judgeship on Baltimore's Orphans' Court once was a political plum. More recently, however, with the court nearly collapsing under a backlog of cases, the position has been seen as a full-time headache with part-time pay.So why would Joyce M. Baylor Thompson want the job?"
NEWS
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | October 4, 1995
Michael Waring Lee, chief judge of Baltimore City Orphans' Court, died Sunday of complications after colon surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 42.Judge Lee was a great-nephew of Everett J. Waring, who in 1885 became the first black admitted to the Maryland Bar.Judge Lee also made history -- as the first black to be appointed a chief judge of any court in Maryland. In 1983, he was 30 years old when Gov. Harry R. Hughes selected him to fill a vacancy on the three-member Orphans' Court.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2013
Harry L.W. "Tombstone" Hopkins, who was an insurance salesman, banker, rural mail carrier, orphans' court judge, registrar of wills, funeral home attendant and tombstone salesman, and finally a Harford County Living Treasure, died Sunday of septic shock at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. The lifelong Bel Air resident was 87. "I've known Tombstone all of my life and he was a real Bel Air fixture," said Todd Holden, a former Aegis...
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2013
A nonbinding referendum on whether residents want an elected county school board and elimination of the county's Orphans Court are among Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold's legislative priorities for this General Assembly session. "We should give the voters the right to have a direct say in who should oversee this 53 percent of the county budget," Leopold said of school system funding, hitting what has been a hot-button issue in the county for more than a decade. Leopold outlined his agenda Friday to the county's General Assembly delegation, giving legislators a mix of items affecting only the county and statewide legislative ideas, and drawing a mixed reception on his wish list.
NEWS
November 7, 2012
The year is 2012. Isn't it about time the state of Maryland came up with some name a bit more 21st century than "Orphan's Court"? What a hillbilly name for a court in a supposedly up to date state! Douglas B. Hermann, Parkville
NEWS
October 22, 2012
The general public has never been especially fond of lawyers or judges. When Gallup polls Americans asking what professions they view favorably and which they view negatively, the lawyers get a thumbs down every time — although, on the bright side, the federal government and the oil industry are rated considerably worse. Nevertheless, as the old saying goes, you can hate lawyers until you need one. That's when they become invaluable in allowing a family to adopt a child or prevent an innocent person from being convicted of a crime or in upholding terms of a business contract.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | October 7, 2012
Maryland's system of resolving disputes over wills and estates is being challenged in Baltimore County this fall, as voters decide whether the local Orphans' Court judges should be required to have law licenses. A statewide referendum in the Nov. 6 election proposes amending the Maryland constitution to exclude the county's "lay judges," a title that has existed since 1777, when the court was created under the constitution. A similar, separate ballot question applies to the court in Prince George's County . The two ballot questions have been overshadowed by referendums on broader hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage and expanded gambling.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2012
Suzanne K. Mensh, who served Baltimore County for nearly five decades as an Orphans' Court judge and then as clerk of the county Circuit Court, died Wednesday at Northwest Hospital. Her family said no cause of death was given. She was 82. "She was a sincere lady," said a son, Spencer Mensh of Reisterstown. "The first word that comes to mind with her is 'integrity.'" Judge Mensh was encouraged to run for office by members of a local Democratic club who worked with her at polling locations, her son said.
NEWS
By Kerry O'Rourke and Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer | June 9, 1994
Three Republicans -- two of them incumbents -- have filed to run for three Carroll County Orphans Court judge seats in the primary election this fall.The third incumbent said yesterday he has not decided whether to run.The newcomer in the race is Dorothy "Dottie" V. Utz, 66, of Westminster. She said she retired in December as manager of six Admiral Cleaners Inc. locations in Carroll.The two incumbents who have filed candidacy papers with the Board of Elections are:* Albert W. Selby, 74, of Sykesville, who is serving his second four-year term.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | January 4, 2011
While politicians are sworn in throughout Maryland this month, at least one general election winner from Baltimore may not make the final cut. Laudette Ramona Moore Baker won an uncontested spot on the city's Orphans Court in November — after a dozen years of running for various offices under different combinations of her four names. Yet, despite her victory, she never received the governor's commission required for her swearing-in. And according to Gov. Martin O'Malley's spokesman, she likely never will.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | November 4, 2010
After a dozen years of trying to get elected to the Baltimore Orphans Court — first as its register of wills and later as a judge — Laudette Ramona Moore Baker finally got her wish on Election Day. But the victory may be short-lived. While she was being elected to the vacant spot on the three-judge panel Tuesday, state voters were approving a constitutional amendment that bars her from taking the $65,000-a-year job because she's not a lawyer. The situation has put Baker into a state of legal limbo and created a conundrum for the two sitting judges — both members of the Maryland bar who are dismayed that a nonjurist was elected to join them.
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