The Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state of Maryland, commonly called the Supreme Courts in other states. The Court is comprised of seven Justices, including a Chief Justice and six associate Judges. The seven Judges of the Court of Appeals are appointed by the Governor of Maryland with Senate consent. Judges are appointed to serve for ten years. To be qualified as a Judge they are required to be citizens and qualified voters of Maryland. They must have resided in Maryland for at least five years, and for at least six months in the appellate judicial circuit from which they are appointed, prior to their appointment. They must be at least thirty years of age at the time of appointment and must practice law in Maryland.
Maryland judges may be removed in one of the four ways:
- Judges may be removed by the Governor upon the address of the General Assembly with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of each House.
- Judges may be retired by the General Assembly with a two-thirds vote of each House and the Governor’s concurrence.
- Judges may be impeached by a majority of the House of Delegates and convicted by two-thirds of the Senate.
- Judges may be removed or retired by the Court of Appeals on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.
The Court of Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over death penalty appeals, legislative redistricting, removal of some officers, and is responsible for answering broad legal questions. The Court of Appeals holds hearings on the adoption or amendment of rules of practice and procedure and supervises the Attorney Grievance Commission and State Board of Law Examiners in attorney disciplinary and admission matters. It hears cases almost exclusively by way of certiorari, a process which gives the court discretion to decide which cases to hear. However, the Court of Appeals is mandated by law to hear cases involving the death penalty, legislative redistricting, removal of certain officers, and certifications of questions of law.
Maryland Courts Website: http://www.courts.state.md.us/coappeals/index.html