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COURT NEWS: Judge Devy Patterson Russell kicked off the bench for six months due to whacky behavior in The Case of the Henhouse Judges

Baltimore City District Court Judge Devy Patterson Russell is defended by noted attorney William C. Brennan Jr. before the Maryland Court of Appeals in a disciplinary action brought by the Judicial Disability Commission of Maryland.

COURT NEWS: Judge Devy Patterson Russell kicked off bench for six months due to whacky behavior in The Case of the Henhouse Judges

In the Matter of Judge Devy Patterson Russell, JD No. 1, September Term, 2018.

 Opinion by Greene, J.

JUDGES – REMOVAL OR DISCIPLNE – SANCTION

Having reviewed the record, the Court of Appeals held that, under the circumstances, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities’ conclusion that the Honorable Devy Patterson Russell committed sanctionable conduct was supported by clear and convincing evidence. From 2007-2015, Judge Russell failed to handle and process search warrant materials in a manner consistent with Maryland Rule 4-601 and intemal courthouse procedures. Moreover, Judge Russell instructed a law clerk to destroy the warrant materials. In addition, she repeatedly yelled at court clerks and judges. She subjected court clerks to lineups when clerical mistakes were made, and on one occasion physically pushed a clerk. Judge Russell also repeatedly attempted to undermine the authority of the administrative judge of her court and judges delegated administrative duties.

Her conduct occurred in the courthouse and often in the public view. Furthermore, her conduct had sweeping effects on the courthouse to which she was assigned, fostering an uncomfortable, unprofessional, and tense work environment. Her conduct exhibited a pattern of discourtesy and uncontrollable incivility that had pervasive effects on the administration of justice in the District Court of Maryland located in Baltimore City. As demonstrated herein, a judge may be disciplined if he or she engages in a pattern of inappropriate and discourteous behavior. Here, the appropriate sanction for Judge Russell’s misconduct is a consecutive six-month suspension without pay, with her reinstatement conditioned upon her completion of remedial measures set forth by this Court.

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