Bessie Decker to Retire as Clerk of Court of Appeals
By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)
In bittersweet news for the Maryland bench and bar, Bessie Decker, the first-ever woman to serve as Clerk of the Court of Appeals, will retire on October 1. The upcoming vacancy is now posted on the Maryland Courts website, with an application deadline of October 5.
A 2008 news story regarding Ms. Decker’s appointment provides some background on her long, distinguished service to the Court of Appeals and Maryland bar:
Decker has served in the Court of Appeals Clerk’s Office since 1984 and as its chief deputy since 1999. She has served as the acting clerk since May 2007. With this appointment, Decker will become the Maryland Court of Appeals’ 26th clerk since the position was authorized in 1780, and the first female clerk.
“The court is delighted with this appointment,” Judge Bell said. “I know that Bessie will continue the outstanding work that Alex Cummings has done. He has been an invaluable part of the Court of Appeals, and we have been honored to have him serve here. Having benefitted from his example and tutelage, Bessie can be expected to bring the same level of dedication to the position, and deliver the same high quality work and provide the highest quality of service.”
The clerk of the Court of Appeals maintains the docket, receives briefs and transcripts of cases filed with the Court of Appeals, and maintains official custody of court decisions, acts of the General Assembly, and other records required to be filed with the court.
Decker is an associate member of the Maryland State Bar Association and serves as secretary of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks. She has been a member of the conference since 1999 and has served on its board since 2004. In 2007, Decker was a faculty member with the Maryland Institute for the Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers.
The Clerk’s office is exceptionally well-run and helpful to attorneys and to the many pro se litigants who file in the Court of Appeals. Ms. Decker is one of the most responsive public servants I’ve encountered, with lightning-quick responses to inquiries. She has overseen a smooth transition to electronic filing in Court of Appeals cases originating from most Maryland counties.
I hear that, in retirement, she’ll have more time for volunteer work, travel, and grand-parenting. Best wishes to Ms. Decker and her family.
For those interested, there was also a very nice webcasted tribute to Bessie Decker, on the Md. Judiciary Web site.
[video src="https://mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/import/coappeals/media/2018/coa20180913bessiedecker.mp4" /]
However, neither have impressed enough to suggest that they can fill the gap long-term for Klopp.