- ANNE ARUNDEL ORPHANS COURT JUDGE NANCY PHELPS IS STILL ON THE BENCH AFTER BEING CAUGHT RECEIVING REAL ESTATE COMMISSIONS ON TRANSACTIONS SUPERVISED BY HER COURT
- ST. MARY’S ORPHANS COURT JUDGE WAS FIRED FOR THEFT BY SHERIFF WAYNE PETTIT
- ST. MARY’S ORPHANS COURT JUDGE MICHAEL WHITE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY JUDICIAL DISABILITIES COMMISSION
The recent actions by the Judicial Disabilities Commission in recommending the discipline against Charles County District Court Judge Louis Hennessy, which includes up to three years of being benched from the bench, is in stark contrast to the action taken against Prince Georges Circuit Court Judge Larnzell Martin Jr who should have been put on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry but is still hearing cases.
The Anne Arundel County Police Department was conducting surveillance of those who were performing hookups of gay men in a men’s room of a department store in the Annapolis Mall following complaints of lewd conduct. Judge Martin was arrested on January 14, 1998, for sexual assault and indecent exposure after he grabbed the crotch of a man and then exposed himself. The Judge’s promiscuous eye target turned out to be a cop. Judge Martin’s next date was with a District Court Commissioner to set bail.
Judge Martin was appointed to the bench in 1988 by Gov. William Donald Schaefer after serving as the first black county attorney in Prince Georges County by county executive Parris Glendenning.
Judge Martin retired as the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court in Prince Georges County and still serves as a senior judge assigned to courts throughout the circuit, including Prince Georges, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Charles counties.
Following his arrest, Chief Judge William B. Missouri placed Martin on temporary administrative leave pending the resolution of the charges of a fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, and indecent exposure.
The Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission investigated the arrest of Judge Martin while Howard County Assistant States Attorney Sue-Ellen Hantman was appointed a Special Prosecutor. When District Court Judge Vincent A. Mulieri turned down the request of Hantman to put the charges on the Stet Docket, the Judge wouldn’t budge, triggering defense attorney William Brennan to bump the case up to Anne Arundel Circuit Court for a jury trial.
In front of Circuit Court Judge Eugene Lerner, Hantman got her way to shelve the charges. As a condition of the Stet Docket, Judge Martin was expected to not pull his penis out in public for at least three years and to refrain from assaulting anyone.
Other conditions included Judge Martin seeking counseling which never interfered with him becoming a celebrated jurist in the gay community.
ORPHANS COURT JUDGE NANCY PHELPS CAUGHT RED-HANDED WITH HER HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR
Anne Arundel County Orphans Court Judge Nancy Phelps is the current Chief Judge of the county’s orphans court, tasked with supervising estates and probates of wills. Phelps was first sworn in as an Orphans Court Judge in 2009.
When a complaint was made in 2013 by Michael G. Morin, Esq., Judge Phelps, a real estate agent, was involved in collecting real estate commissions on estates administered by the Anne Arundel Orphans Court, the Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission opened an investigation.
The investigation determined that Judge Phelps committed sanctionable conduct that warrants disciplinary action.
The commission records state that when the conduct was brought to the attention of Judge Phelps that she “appeared to appreciate what was wrong with her conduct, and she would never do it again.”
As a result, the commission decided to issue a Private Reprimand, and Judge Phelps waived the right to a hearing. Honorable Alexander Wright Jr., Chair, signed the reprimand.
The records do not reflect whether Judge Wright was able to get a payoff, a big kiss, or he is related to Judge Phelps in his earth-shattering efforts to restore public confidence in the yahoos of the Maryland Judiciary.
Judge Phelps has filed for election in 2022 and is one of five Republicans and three Democrats vying for office in the primary on July 19, 2022, with all of the Democrats assured of making it to the General Election but only three of the Republicans.
ST. MARY’S ORPHANS COURT JUDGE ALBERT BABCOCK WAS FIRED BY SHERIFF WAYNE PETTIT FOR MISUSE OF FUNDS WHEN A DEPUTY SHERIFF
Following an incident that took place at the Crystal Carwash on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park, Md., on December 14, 1983, where St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Deputy Albert Babcock billed the car wash of his mother’s car to the Sheriff’s Department, Babcock was fired by Sheriff Wayne Pettit. Deputy John Rhodes was in line at the car wash and witnessed the voucher slip being used by Babcock.
Babcock, who was twenty-nine at the time and a four-year veteran of the department, took the Sheriff’s actions to the court. Circuit Court Judge James M. Rea Sr. cited various irregularities in the procedures of a disciplinary hearing that was held before the firing and ordered a new hearing.
Babcock is now an Orphans Court Judge responsible for the fiduciary oversight of estates being probated. When he was a deputy, he was caught using the two-dollar voucher for washing a private vehicle and billing the charge to the agency fund used for washing police cars.
A hearing board recommended a two-week suspension from duty, and it was overruled by Sheriff Pettit, who said he would not tolerate dishonesty at any level. Babcock’s attorney filed suit under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights provisions and called the hearing process one of intimidation and conducted like a Star Chamber. Judge Rea ordered a new hearing and said if it weren’t held within 30 days, Babcock would be ordered to return to work.
During the court hearing, Judge Rea likened the offense committed by Babcock to shoplifting which would result in a verdict of probation before judgment.
NO LITTLE CHEATING
Sheriff Pettit persevered and held another hearing, after which he fired Babcock.
Allen Bussler quoted Babcock in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise as saying about Sheriff Pettit “It’s a rough deal; he’s taking $2 and putting a black mark on me for the rest of my life.” Bussler retorted in his letter that Babcock was “…a little mixed up over who took the $2. Lack of integrity in a public servant is a black mark, an abomination. A little bit of cheating and stealing ain’t to be tolerated either.”
Bussler ended his letter with this statement: “I thank you, Sheriff, for setting the example in integrity and the example and courage to do what you have to do as unpleasant as the duty is.”
When Babcock filed his lawsuit to force Sheriff Pettit to rehire him, documents were revealed as part of the litigation that brought to light for the first time the role Babcock played in ending a high-speed chase on St. Andrews Church Road near Rt. 235 at about 2:15 am on May 8, 1983. Christopher R. Whitehead of Marlow Heights, a member of the Phantoms motorcycle club, was being pursued by several police cruisers the length of St. Andrews Church Road when Deputy Babcock set up his police car, partially blocking the road. According to the Sheriff’s reports, Deputy Babcock pulled out his shotgun and put one shell in the chamber.
In the report to Sheriff Pettit, Babcock wrote:
“My adrenalin was very high before they reached my location. I then saw a state trooper and the motorcycle he was chasing come around the corner about two-tenths of a mile away. I could see that the motorcycle did not have any lights on, and the trooper was approximately three to five car lengths behind the motorcycle. The motorcycle was doing approximately 65 to 75 miles per hour and was still accelerating. The motorcycle was coming directly towards me. I pointed my shotgun at the approaching motorcycle. The suspect veered towards my right side. I aimed my shotgun toward the road behind the motorcycle and discharged one round as he went by. “
The personnel file on Deputy Babcock was released as part of the lawsuit filed by Babcock. It noted that the deputy was counseled on the use of firearms and was told by the Sheriff: “…under no circumstances will firearms be discharged as a warning or used in any attempt to apprehend a misdemeanant”.
The Sheriff’s report placed the cause of death only on the biker’s speed and that no pellets from Babcock’s shotgun struck the fleeing biker, according to a report in The Enterprise on June 13, 1984.
Babcock served as the chairman of the St. Mary’s Alcoholic Beverage Board in 2005 and retired from a position at Pax River. When he ran for Orphans Court Judge in 2014, The Enterprise profile included the fact that Babcock had once been a Sheriff’s Deputy but didn’t include that he had been fired for theft. At the time, Babcock’s son Jason was a reporter for The Enterprise. Now retired reporter John Wharton wrote the profile.
CHIEF JUDGE MICHAEL WHITE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY JUDICIAL DISABILITIES COMMISSION FOR POSSIBLE ETHICS VIOLATIONS
Following a series of revelations about the illegal gambling operation being conducted by St. Mary’s County Orphans Court Judge Michael White and his son, Maryland State Police Lt. George White, at Woodville Road in Waldorf, as well as PPP Fraud allegedly perpetrated to defraud taxpayers an investigation has begun by the Maryland Judicial Disabilities Commission.
Judge Michael White is a Republican candidate for St. Mary’s Orphans Court in the July 19, 2022, primary. Michael White is also a defendant in a civil suit filed in Federal Court alleging he has embezzled millions of dollars from a firm of which he is part owner.