From the Baltimore Sun
O'Malley answers the call of jury duty
By John Fritze
November 28, 2006
Serving as mayor of one of the nation's largest cities and getting
elected governor takes more civic responsibility than most citizens own
up to in a lifetime. But, it turns out, it still doesn't get you out of
Three weeks after winning a contentious gubernatorial election,
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley spent eight hours at the Clarence M.
Mitchell Jr. Courthouse yesterday enduring a jury selection process,
which - contrary to the frenetic pace of the campaign trail - mostly
involved sitting and waiting.
O'Malley answered to "Juror No. 368" yesterday, but everyone recognized
the man in the dark suit, cradling a book by former U.S. Treasury
Secretary Robert E. Rubin and offering impromptu tours of the
courthouse. When a judge asked one group of jurors if any one of them
was a lawyer, O'Malley stood.
"I am a lawyer, my wife was a lawyer. All my brothers are lawyers.
Nobody in my family knows how to do anything," O'Malley said, drawing a
laugh from the otherwise beleaguered crowd.
Though he is in the midst of a transition to the State House, O'Malley
said he had nothing on his schedule yesterday because he received the
summons long ago. He was considered for two civil trials and dismissed
Throughout the day, lawyers, judges and other potential jurors, mostly
strangers, shook the mayor's hand and congratulated him on beating Gov.
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. But at one point, as O'Malley walked between
courthouses, a familiar and not-so-friendly face approached from the
other direction: State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.
Jessamy, a longtime rival of O'Malley's who endorsed his opponent in
the Democratic primary, initiated a half-hearted high-five in the
middle of Calvert Street and then asked if the mayor had been selected
yet. When he said no, Jessamy said, "We'll keep on wishing."
When O'Malley reached the other side of Calvert Street - out of
Jessamy's earshot - he smiled and said only: "There are many thoughts I
have right now."
The mayor - who is married to District Judge Catherine "Katie" Curran
O'Malley - was last called for jury duty in January 2002. At the time,
he was named foreman on a personal injury case involving a Northeast
Baltimore flute player who was squeezed in the door of a Maryland
Transit Administration bus. It was the first time in decades a mayor
had served on a jury, according to reports at the time.
O'Malley was not the only elected official present in the jury room
yesterday. City Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. - an outspoken
O'Malley critic - was also present. The two spoke briefly before the
mayor left for a previously scheduled lunch. Oddly enough, D'Adamo and
O'Malley were also both called on the same day in 2002.
Yesterday, the governor-elect spent most of his time in the jury pool
room, where he eschewed the movie - Monster-in-Law, staring Jennifer
Lopez and Jane Fonda - in favor of two books. He read Rubin's In An
Uncertain World and had a copy of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce
Crime and End Mass Incarceration as a backup.
Twice his number was called. The first case, before Circuit Judge Wanda
K. Heard, involved a car accident that took place on Interstate 295
near Russell Street. Because a Baltimore police officer apparently took
the accident report, the prospective jurors were asked whether they had
any bias for or against police. Again, O'Malley stood.
"I head a municipal corporation that pays the Baltimore City police
officers every two weeks," he said.
Later, O'Malley was called to Judge Kaye A. Allison's court for a
defamation case against a company that performs background checks on
employees. Several other potential jurors - including a cardiologist
and a pediatrician - said they could not serve because of their
O'Malley, who confessed he thought he might be selected for the case,
was struck. Along with the doctors and most of the others, he was sent
He was entitled to a $15 stipend for his day, but O'Malley said he
"One of the great honors of citizenship is jury duty," he said.
Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun