Archives of Maryland
Historical List
Supreme Bench of Baltimore City
and Baltimore City Circuit Court, 1867---



The Supreme Bench of Baltimore City was created under a provision of the Constitution of 1867, and was equivalent to the county circuit courts. The Supreme Bench originally consisted of five courts, the Criminal Court, Circuit Court, City Court, Superior Court, and the Court of Common Pleas. The Supreme Bench had appellate jurisdiction over all of the City's courts. In 1888, an additional court, known as Circuit Court No. 2, was established to relieve the caseload of the other Circuit Court, which had identical jurisdiction. Rather than maintaining separate dockets for different types of proceedings, as the county courts did, the Supreme Bench had courts which handled specific matters. Even within that, however, there was a great deal of redundancy among the courts--the Court of Common Pleas, Superior Court, and City Court all heard the same type of cases. Each of the courts did have exclusive authority over some functions, however. The Superior Court handled all land records, while the Court of Common Pleas issued business and marriage licenses, for example. Judges typically rotated annually between the different courts.

A number of the courts had been created under earlier organizations: the Court of Common Pleas, Superior Court, and Criminal Court were created in 1851 and the Circuit Court was created in 1853. The City Court was first created in 1817 to hear criminal cases, but was disbanded in 1851. Baltimore's court system consequently developed a reputation for complexity and obscurity. In 1953, a commission appointed to study the Maryland judicial system concluded that Baltimore's court system was "a monument to inertia and an utterly unreasonable resistance to change." By having many separate courts, the Supreme Bench became a haven for those seeking political patronage jobs.

A constitutional amendment passed in 1980 consolidated the Baltimore Courts. It took effect in 1983, and the Supreme Bench became the Baltimore City Circuit Court, functioning as any other county circuit court.

Source:  John Carroll Byrnes, "Evolution of the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, 1632-1997," in Histories of the Bench & Bar of Baltimore City (Baltimore: Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation, 1997) 1-62.

See also: Art Inventory of the Baltimore City Courthouse and Catalogue of Photographs of Supreme Bench Judges at the Courthouse.
 
 

Name
Dates Served
Thomas Parkin Scott (1804-1873)  1867-1873
Robert Gilmor, Jr. (1833-1906) 1867-1882
Campbell White Pinkney (1828-1903) 1867-1882
George W. Dobbin (1809-1891) 1867-1882
Henry F. Garey (1821-1892) 1867-1882
George William Brown (1812-1890)  1873-1888
William A. Fisher (1837-1901) 1882-1886
Edward Duffy (1831-1892) 1882-1892
William A. Stewart (1825-1892) 1882-1892
Charles E. Phelps (1833-1908) 1882-1908
John Upshur Dennis (1846-1916) 1887-1907
Daniel Giruad Wright (1840-1922) 1888-1910
Henry D. Harlan (1858-1943)  1889-1914
Albert Ritchie (1834-1903) 1892-1903
Peregrine L. Wickes (1837-1923) 1892-1923
John J. Dobler (1852-1923) 1894-1922
Henry Stockbridge (1856-1924) 1896-1911
George Matthews Sharp (1851-1911) 1897-1911
Martin Lehmayer (1861-1936) 1900-1909
Alfred S. Niles (1860-1926) 1906-1912
Thomas I. Elliot (1856-1915) 1906-1915
James P. Gorter (1858-1939)  1907-1928
Conway W. Sams (1862-1909) 1908-1909
Charles W. Heuisler (1854-1929) 1908-1924
Henry Duffy (1862-1948) 1909-1926
H. Arthur Stump (1857-1934) 1910-1934
Walter I. Dawkins (1858-1936) 1911-1934
Carroll T. Bond (1873-1943) 1911-1924
James M. Ambler (1854-1934) 1912-1924
Morris A. Soper (1873-1963)  1914-1921
Robert F. Stanton (1869-1956) 1916-1938
Charles F. Stein (1866-1939) 1921-1937
Duke Bond (1869-1953) 1922-1938
Eli Frank, Sr. (1874-1958) 1922-1944
W. Stuart Symington, Jr. (1871-1926) 1924-1926
Rowland K. Adams (1889-1944) 1924-1943
George A. Solter (1873-1950) 1924-1943
Joseph N. Ulman (1878-1943) 1924-1943
Eugene O'Dunne (1875-1959) 1926-1945
Albert S. J. Owens (1863-1937) 1926-1937
Samuel K. Dennis (1874-1953)  1928-1944
J. Frank Supplee, Jr. (1877-1937) 1934-1937
Oscar Leser (1870-1960) 1937-1939
Edwin T. Dickerson (1878-1958) 1937-1948
J. Abner Sayler (1880-1957) 1937-1950
J. Craig McLanahan (1881-1946) 1938-1946
W. Conwell Smith (1887-1954)  1938-1954
Emory H. Niles (1892-1976)  1938-1962
William L. Henderson (1894-1984) 1942-1944
John T. Tucker (1891-1967) 1943-1961
Charles E. Moylan, Sr. (1897-1969) 1943-1967
Joseph Sherbow (1901-1979) 1944-1952
Herman M. Moser (1900-1956) 1944-1956
E. Paul Mason (1891-1968) 1944-1961
Robert France (1896-1952) 1946-1952
Michael J. Manley (1896-1973)  1946-1966
S. Ralph Warnken (1891-1988) 1948-1961
Joseph R. Byrnes (1900-1971) 1950-1968
James K. Cullen (1901-1988) 1952-1970
Joseph L. Carter (1904-1991) 1952-1974
Deeley K. Nice (1910-1956) 1954-1956
Cornelius P. Mundy (1901-1965) 1955-1956
Reuben Oppenheimer (1897-1982) 1955-1964
Joseph Allen (1895-1970) 1956-1963
Edwin Harlan (1906-1966) 1956-1966
Anselm Sodaro (1910-2002) 1956-1980
J. Gilbert Prendergast (1909-1973) 1959-1973
Dulaney Foster (1917-2005) 1959-1975
Meyer M. Cardin (1907-2005) 1961-1977
Shirley Brannock Jones (b. 1925) 1961-1979
Charles D. Harris (1906-1983) 1962-1976
J. Harold Grady (1917-2002) 1962-1984
Wilson K. Barnes (1907-1997) 1963-1964
William J. O'Donnell (1916-1976) 1964-1974
Albert L. Sklar (1911-1998) 1964-1981
James A. Perrott (1922-2008) 1965-1982
George L. Russell, Jr. (b. 1929) 1966-1968
Robert I. H. Hammerman (1928-2004) 1967-1998
Edwin J. Wolf (1907-2008) 1967-1968
Thomas J. Kenney (1910-1991) 1967-1968
Harry A. Cole (1921-1999)1967-1977
George D. Solter (1920-2007) 1968-1970
Solomon Liss (1915-1988) 1968-1976
Joseph C. Howard (1922-2000) 1968-1979
Paul A. Dorf (1926-2012) 1968-1983
Basil A. Thomas (b. 1915) 1968-1983
Robert B. Watts (1922-1998) 1968-1985
David Ross (b. 1929) 1968-1996
James W. Murphy (1926-1990) 1970-1985
Marshall A. Levin (1920-2004) 1971-1987
Robert L. Karwacki (b. 1933) 1973-1984
John R. Hargrove (1923-1997) 1974-1984
Mary Arabian (1920-2002) 1974-1990
Martin B. Greenfeld (1934-1988) 1975-1988
Robert L. Sullivan, Jr. (1921-1977) 1976-1977
Milton B. Allen (1917-2003) 1976-1986
Edgar P. Silver (b. 1923) 1977-1988
Joseph H. H. Kaplan (b. 1937) 1977-2006
Solomon Baylor (1922-2007) 1978-1986
Elsbeth Levy Bothe (b. 1927) 1978-1996
M. Albert Figinski (b. 1938) 1980
Peter D. Ward (b. 1937) 1980-1982
William H. Murphy (b. 1943) 1980-1983
Robert M. Bell (b. 1943) 1980-1984
Joseph I. Pines (1922-2009) 1980-1992
Thomas Ward (b. 1927) 1982-1997
Kenneth Lavon Jackson (b. 1937) 1982-2001
John Carroll Byrnes (b. 1939) 1982-2002
Arrie W. Davis (b. 1940) 1983-1990
Edward J. Angeletti (b. 1937) 1983-1999
Thomas E. Noel (b. 1948) 1983-2006
Hilary D. Caplan (b. 1935) 1984-1995
David B. Mitchell (b. 1945) 1984-2001
Marvin B. Steinberg (1929-1996) 1985-1996
Mabel H. Hubbard (1936-2006) 1985-1999
Kathleen O'Ferrall Friedman (b. 1941) 1985-2002
Clifton J. Gordy, Jr. (b. 1946) 1985-2006
Ellen M. Heller (b. 1941) 1986-2003
John N. Prevas (1947-2010) 1986-2010
Roger W. Brown, Sr. (1940-2009) 1987-2002
John C. Themelis (b. 1947) 1988-2010
Ellen L. Hollander (b. 1949) 1989-1994
Richard T. Rombro (b. 1929) 1989-1999
Andre M. Davis (b. 1949) 1990-1995
Paul A. Smith (b. 1936) 1990-2006
Joseph P. McCurdy (b. 1940) 1991-2006
Martin P. Welch (b. 1953) 1992-2014
Albert J. Matricciani, Jr. (b. 1947) 1995-2008
Carol E. Smith (b. 1946) 1995-2008
Evelyn O. Cannon (b. 1950) 1996-2012
Bonita J. Dancy 1996-2006
William D. Quarles (b. 1948) 1996-2003
Gary I. Strausberg (1947-2000) 1996-2000
Thomas J. S. Waxter, Jr. (b. 1934) 1996-2004
David W. Young (b. 1951) 1996-2013
Marcella A. Holland (b. 1947) 1997-2013
M. Brooke Murdock (b. 1949) 1997-2014
Alfred Nance (b. 1948) 1997-present
Allen L. Schwait (b. 1937) 1997-2007
Stuart R. Berger (b. 1959) 1998-2012
Audrey J. S. Carrion (b. 1958) 1999-present
Wanda K. Heard (b. 1957) 1999-present
Kaye A. Allison 1999-2010
John M. Glynn (b. 1946) 2001-2009
John Philip Miller (b. 1948) 2001-2012
Althea M. Handy (b. 1957) 2002-present
Edward R. K. Hargadon (b. 1954) 2002-present
Lynn Stewart Mays (b. 1963) 2002-present
Shirley M. Watts 2002-2011
W. Michel Pierson (b. 1950) 2004-present
Sylvester B. Cox (b. 1958) 2004-present
Gale E. Rasin (b. 1952) 2004-2012
Barry G. Williams (b. 1962) 2005-present
Robert B. Kershaw (b. 1952) 2006-present
Yvette M. Bryant (b. 1966) 2006-present
John Addison Howard (b. 1946) 2006-present
Timothy J. Doory (b. 1949) 2006-present
Charles G. Bernstein (b. 1939) 2006-2009
Geroge L. Russell III 2007-2012
Pamela J. White (b. 1952) 2007-present
Emanuel Brown (b. 1953) 2007-present
Marcus Z. Shar (b. 1951) 2008-present
Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill (b. 1958) 2009-present
Kendra Y. Ausby (b. 1971)2010-present
Videtta A. Brown (b. 1957)2010-present
Charles J. Peters (b. 1956)2010-present
Yolanda A. Tanner2010-present
Stephan J. Sfekas (b. 1947)2010-present
Jeannie J. Hong (b. 1965)2011-present
Micahel W. Reed (b. 1960)2011-2014
Jeffrey M. Geller (b. 1971)2012-present
Melissa J. Phinn2013-present
Christopher L. Panos (b. 1958)2013-present
Philip Senan Jackson2013-present
Julie R. Rubin (b. 1972)2013-present
Shannon E. Avery (b. 1966)2014-present
Karen C. Friedman (b. 1971)2014-present
Cynthia H. Jones (b. 1964)2014-present
Michael A. DiPietro (b. 1960)2014-present