Tag Archive | Pit Bulls

Who Is on the Court Of Appeals: The Role of Retired Judges

By Kevin Arthur

As most Maryland lawyers probably know, the Court of Appeals consists of seven judges from the various geographical regions in the state. But because the Maryland Constitution requires judges to retire at age 70 and then permits retired judges to be recalled into service, the Court of Appeals currently has as many as six additional members who serve provisionally on a case-by-case basis . After Judges Battaglia and Harrell are required to retire over the next two years, the Court may have more provisional, retired members than it has active members.

In recent years, retired judges have had an outsized role in some of the Court’s most prominent and controversial decisions. Most notably, in Tracey v. Solesky, 427 Md. 627 (2012), two retired judges provided the decisive votes in support of a 4-3 opinion that held that landlords could be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their tenants’ pit bulls. One of the retired judges authored the divisive opinion, which spurred a successful motion to reconsider some of the majority’s more expansive pronouncements (concerning liability for so-called “pit bull mixes”), unsuccessful efforts at corrective legislation in a special session of the General Assembly in 2012, the acrimonious collapse of a legislative compromise at the end of the 2013 legislative session, and additional legislative proposals in the upcoming session. Read More…