An interesting argument scheduled for this Thursday at 10 am before the Maryland Supreme Court
AG No. 42 (2021 T.) Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Marylin Pierre
Justice Battaglia (Retired Justice, Specially Assigned) will sit in place of Justice Gould.
Attorney for Petitioner: Lydia E. Lawless
Attorney for Respondent: Irwin R. Kramer
The Washington Post reported on the charges
“The court has long held that this is core political speech and should be subject to the highest protections of the First Amendment,” Kramer said.
Many of them tried — with an initial outcome that rattled Montgomery County’s legal community that revolves around two courthouses in Rockville. In total, there are approximately 36 judges.
In the 2020 primary, there were four open slots for Circuit Court judges. Six people ran — four incumbent judges who had earlier been appointed and two outsiders
, including Pierre. She finished high enough to make the general election, which was trimmed down to five choices for the four slots.
Her campaign had been built in part on touting her courtroom experience and criticizing the incumbent judges for not appreciating how inherently unfair the system can be
But according to the Bar Counsel and the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland — which regulates lawyers in Maryland — Pierre and her campaign took things way too far. Citing professional rules of conduct, the Bar Counsel wrote: “An attorney shall not make a statement that the attorney knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualification or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.”
The Pierre campaign’s view on the incumbent judges and diversity constituted one such violation, according to the counsel’s petition.
The Bar Counsel said in its petition that during the campaign, Pierre exaggerated her legal and courtroom experience, including claims that she “represented clients in hundreds of cases in state and federal trial and appellant courts” and that “some of my cases have established precedents in the State of Maryland and are regularly cited by courts in others states.”
In fact, the Bar Counsel alleged, Pierre “never represented any client in any federal appellate court and never represented a client in any Maryland appellant court resulting in a reported opinion.”
“What we do is, there are a lot of correctional options other than incarceration,” Berry said. “We’re not incarcerating people who are nonviolent offenders for long periods of time or anything like that. There is home detention, there’s inpatient residential treatment, there’s problem-solving courts, there’s work release or weekend incarceration. There are a lot of things you can do. So, we’re not — certainly, I understand that it is an issue — but it’s not as much of an issue as being portrayed by the other two candidates [Pierre and the other outside challenger, Thomas Johnson].”
The next day, according to the Bar Counsel, Pierre’s campaign sent a text message to Montgomery County voters that read:
The Bar Counsel complaint addresses matters beyond the recent election. It accuses Pierre of knowingly making false statements on her New York state bar application in 1999 and knowingly failing to disclose information on Maryland judicial applications from 2013 to 2017.
Kramer, the attorney who often represents lawyers who are subjects of disciplinary cases, said allegations related to Pierre’s campaign statements would deter outsiders from challenging for judge slots.
“If a judicial candidate’s statements made during a political forum can cost attorneys their law license, no one in their right mind would ever challenge an incumbent judge,” Kramer said.