J. JOSEPH CURRAN, JR.
Attorney General (Democrat)
Born in West Palm Beach, FL, July 7, 1931. Attended Baltimore parochial schools; Loyola High School; University of Baltimore; University of Baltimore School of Law, LL.B., 1959. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1959. Married; five children.
Member, House of Delegates, 1959-63. Member, Banking, Insurance and Social Security Committee; Education Committee.
Member of Senate, 1963-83. Chair, Public Utilities Committee, 1963-66. Member, Banking and Insurance Committee; City Senators Committee; Education Committee (Vice-Chair); Executive Nominations Committee; Judicial Proceedings Committee; Motor Vehicles Committee; Veterans and Civil Defense Committee; Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Matters, 1965; Legislative Liaison Committee for the Constitutional Convention, 1967-68; Rules Committee, 1967-74; Legislative Policy Committee (formerly Legislative Council), 1967-83. Chair, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 1967-83.
Private Career and Other Public Service:
Served in U.S. Air Force, 1951-55. Attorney. Vice-Chair, Maryland Higher Education Loan Corporation, 1963-92. Member, Maryland Cuban Refugee Resettlement Committee, 1963-65; Regional Planning Council, 1963-83; Maryland Highway Safety Coordinating Committee, 1972-83; Governor's Commission to Study Sovereign Immunity, 1975-76; Task Force to Study Circuit Court Unification, 1976-77; Task Force on Crime, 1976-77; Governor's Commission on Domestic Relations Laws, 1976-86; Task Force on Public Safety and Correctional Services, 1980; Commission to Study the Judicial Branch of Government, 1981-82. Chair, Task Force to Review the Defense of Insanity, 1982-85.
Lieutenant Governor, 1983-87. Chair, Committee to Study Flexibility for Higher Education, 1983-84. Member, State Development Council, 1983-84. Chair, Task Force on the Drinking Driver, 1983-86. Vice-Chair, Maryland Council on the Economy, Environment, and Energy Production, 1983-87. Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1983-87. Chair, Task Force on Victims' Services, 1984-85; Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, 1984-87; Liability Insurance Task Force, 1985. Member, Joint Executive-Legislative Task Force on Medical Malpractice Insurance, 1985; Task Force on Mentally Ill Offenders, 1985-86. Chair, State Trade Policy Council, 1985-87; Governor's Oversight Committee on Liability Insurance, 1986.
Attorney General, 1987-. Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1987-; State's Attorneys' Coordination Council, 1987-92; Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Administration (formerly Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Assistance), 1987-95; Board of State Canvassers, 1987-; Commission on Correctional Standards, 1987-; Police Training Commission, 1987-; Correctional Training Commission, 1987-; Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board, 1987-; State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission, 1987-; Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee, 1987-. Chair, State Board of Victim Services, 1988-92. Member, Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, 1989-95. Distinguished Service Award, Mental Health Association of Maryland, 1989. Special Achievement Award, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, 1989. Pro Bono Award, Maryland's Volunteer Lawyers Service, 1990. Elected Official of the Year, Young Democrats of Maryland, 1990. Achievement Award, American Cancer Society, 1991, 1995. Award of Appreciation, State Board of Victim Services, 1992. Delegate, Democratic Party National Convention, 1992, 1996. Certificate of Appreciation, House of Ruth, 1995, 1997. Co-Chair, Family Violence Council, 1995-. Member, Governor's Commission on Adoption, 1995; Cabinet Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 1995-; State Board of Victim Services, 1995-; Task Force to Study Anti-Asian Violence, 1995-98. Lawmaker of the Year, American Heart Association, 1995-96. Member, Governor's Task Force on Children, Youth, and Families Systems Reform, 1996; Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, 1996-99. Advocate of the Year Award, Smoke Free Maryland, 1997. Jack Lodge Award (commitment to protecting Maryland's citizens from the tobacco industry), 1997. Outstanding Leadership Award, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 1997. Member, Commission to Review Landlord-Tenant Laws, 1998. Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, 1998-; Commission on Juvenile Justice Jurisdiction, 1998-; State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, 1999-; Honorary Co-Chair, Task Force to Conquer Cancer in Maryland, 1999-; Task Force to End Smoking in Maryland, 1999-. Breath of Life Award, American Lung Association of Maryland, 1999.
Personal Comments and Observations:
"The most controversial issue that I dealt with during my 20 years in the State Senate has to be the issue of abortions. The abortion issue first came to the attention of the Senate in 1967, when I was Chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and remained a controversial issue until I left the Senate in 1983.
"I would like to think that I made a significant contribution to the Senate of Maryland as Chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee from 1967 to the time that I left in 1983. I always believed that every issue was entitled to an open and fair hearing and that all sides should be given a chance to address the issue, and that all issues should be voted up and down on the merits. Even though I took exception to the position of our committee on some bills, I genuinely believe that the majority should rule and that controversial bills should indeed be submitted to the floor for resolution by the entire body.
"I had several memorable humorous experiences during my 20 years. Certainly Fred Malkus bringing to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on leghold traps a deceased nutria brought many laughs. On one occasion, we had a hearing on legalizing marijuana before an entirely packed house, only to have a State Police officer indicate to me that he suspected several persons were smoking a controlled dangerous substance--and he wanted to conduct a search of the people in the room. This was probably true, but we diffused the situation by suggesting that the windows be opened because several persons complained of the stuffy atmosphere and that they had an asthmatic condition that required the windows to be opened.
"I am particularly proud of the efforts I led to improve Maryland's court system with reference to the creation of the district court and the Court of Special Appeals. I also am proud of my actions and that of our committee in amending and making more modern and equitable Maryland's divorce and alimony laws."
Compiled March 16, 2000 from the biographical files of the Maryland Manual, ©Maryland State Archives and from materials and photograph submitted by Attorney General Curran dated February 3 & 4, 2000.