Judge Clagett presents state of the court

Ren­o­va­tions, drug court mak­ing strides

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By TA­MARA WARD tward@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecTAMA­RA

Calvert County Ad­min­is­tra­tive Judge Mar­jorie L. Clagett de­liv­ered her an­nual State of the Court ad­dress to the Calvert County com­mis­sion­ers Feb. 14.

“It and we are thriv­ing,” said Clagett, de­tail­ing the high­lights of the cir­cuit court. “2016 was a year of great ac­com­plish­ments.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tive judge said the court con­tin­ues to be on tar­get with ef­forts to ren­o­vate the en­tire court­house, which is oc­cur­ring in stages. The ren­o­va­tion of the first floor in the south wing, which in­cluded the con

struc­tion of a court­room, chambers and at­tor­ney con­fer­ence rooms for Calvert Cir­cuit Judge Mark Chan­dlee, as well as new of­fices for the as­sign­ment of

fice, fam­ily ser­vices and court ad­min­is­tra­tion and a lobby, are now com­plete.

“We have art from Terry Quinn, a lo­cal artist, [and] prints from Au­drey Bo­dine of Calvert County land­marks,” in­formed Clagett. “We have one fi­nal piece of art for the lobby, and that is a por­trait of Har­riet El­iz­a­beth Brown.”

Clagett told the story of how Brown sued the Calvert County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion for equal pay for all teach­ers, in­clud­ing African-Amer­i­can teach­ers, who were paid roughly half of what white teach­ers were paid. Work­ing with her at­tor­ney Thur­good Mar­shall, Brown was able to suc­cess­fully get equal pay for all in the 1930s. Mar­shall later be­came a United States Supreme Court jus­tice.

The por­trait is the last project rec­om­men­da­tion from the Har

riet El­iz­a­beth Brown Com­mem­o­ra­tion Task Force con­vened to honor Brown’s legacy. Clagett, a former ed­u­ca­tor, spoke at a park­way ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony in Brown’s honor last fall. The park­way was also a task force rec­om­men­da­tion.

Clagett said Brown’s por­trait, which re­port­edly cost $10,000, was done by Ann Monro Wood, the same artist who painted for

mer Judge War­ren Krug’s and Clagett’s por­traits. Clagett’s por

trait won’t be dis­played un­til she re­tires.

Con­tin­u­ing on the topic of build­ings and grounds, Clagett said the re­main­der of the main floor was tiled and painted.

“We re­lo­cated the adult treat­ment court to the ren­o­vated law li­brary to give them more space and al­low us to have chambers for se­nior/re­tired judges and a me­di­a­tion room,” re­ported the ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge.

She told the com­mis­sion­ers that next month their of­fices will be painted and re-car­peted, and by May, she hopes to tile the en­tire sec­ond floor of the com-

mis­sion­ers’ hear­ing room, the mag­is­trates’ chambers and the area out­side Cir­cuit Judge E. Gre­gory Wells’ court­room.

In May, mod­i­fi­ca­tions to all bath­rooms in the south wing will be­gin in an ef­fort to make them com­pli­ant with Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act stan­dards. Clagett hopes ren­o­va­tions will be com­plete by the end of July.

The judge gave ku­dos to Bob Atkins, Wil­son Free­land, CJ Jones and their staff in the gen­eral ser­vices depart­ment for their hard work “to get this project done and on bud­get.”

“Bob and I can­not re­tire un­til it is fin­ished, though,” Clagett jok­ingly sighed. “So we need to plod along.”

Se­cu­rity is para­mount at the court­house and the judge an­nounced it has re­ceived a grant to up­grade and add se­cu­rity cam­eras around the court­house and court­rooms. In ad­di­tion, the county also re­ceived a grant to up­grade the en­try sys­tem.

“That will ac­tu­ally im­pact all county em­ploy­ees that use the court­house,” shared Clagett.

“The most sig­nif­i­cant event in 2016 was the kick­off for MDEC,” said Clagett, about the Mary­land Elec­tronic Court, an elec­tronic fil­ings sys­tem. “Calvert, St. Mary’s and Charles are the fourth roll­out of the statewide sys­tem ... we will be pa­per­less.” The sys­tem will al­low at

tor­neys and other staff to file plead­ings re­motely from their of­fices, homes or else­where. Clagett said the ap­pel­late courts of Mary­land, Anne Arun­del County, the lower Eastern Shore and the up­per Eastern Shore coun­ties are cur­rently us­ing it.

“Our ‘go live’ date is June 12, 2017,” said Clagett, pre­dict­ing long days for the con­ver­sion to the new sys­tem. There will be train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pub­lic and at­tor­neys in the com

ing months. The staff of Cir­cuit Court Clerk Kathy Smith will lead the charge. The court ac­quired new com

put­ers and soft­ware up­grades for the pub­lic and law li­brary, as well as elec­tronic docket boards and in­for­ma­tional dis­plays, courtesy of in­creased rev­enues from fee in­creases and grants. The court also launched its own Calvert County cir­cuit court web­site, www.courts.state. md.us/clerks/calvert/, which is tied to the state ju­di­cial web­site.

“Slowly, but surely, we are com­ing into the 21st cen­tury,” re­marked Clagett. This month marks the sec

ond an­niver­sary of the county’s adult drug treat­ment court. In two years, staff has grown from one to three mem­bers, han­dling over 90 par­tic­i­pants. Clagett said the goal is to reach 100 par

tic­i­pants in drug court by the end of June.

“We ri­val Mont­gomery Coun- ty in the size of our pro­gram. It’s sad to think that we have such need, but I’m in­cred­i­bly proud of the prod­uct that we are pro­duc­ing,” shared the judge.

The pro­gram held its first grad­u­a­tion last Au­gust with five par­tic­i­pants, one of whom is a coun­selor at the de­ten­tion cen

ter. Clagett said it hopes to grad­u­ate nine at the drug court’s sec­ond grad­u­a­tion, sched­uled for March 23.

The court is part­ner­ing with Farm­ing 4 Hunger, and re­port­edly par­tic­i­pants have worked nearly 1,000 hours on the farm. Other part­ners in­clude the Calvert County Bar As­so­ci­a­tion and non­profit Calvert Adult Re­cov­ery Ex­tra Ser­vices (C.A.R.E.S.). Through them and other spon­sors, the court can pro­vide mer­chant fund­ing for par­tic­i­pants for such things as emer­gency den­tal care, rent as­sis­tance and vo­ca­tional train­ing as­sis­tance.

Clagett ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work­ing re­la­tion­ship her of­fice has with Terry Shan­non, county ad­min­is­tra­tor, Deputy County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Wil­son Par­ran and the com­mis­sion­ers’ staff.

“I look for­ward to my next year’s ad­dress when I will be able to say ‘mis­sions ac­com­plished,’” said Clagett. “We strive to pro­vide equal jus­tice and ac­cess to jus­tice for all.”

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