Monday, February 24, 2014

Press Conference Statement

I am Page Croyder. I am running for Judge of the Circuit Court of Baltimore. I stand for truth, transparency and fairness in the court system, and I put those principles into action both as an assistant state’s attorney and through the blog I have written for the past 6 years.

What I do not stand for, what the public should not stand for, are judges who embarrass and degrade the jurors, witnesses, and attorneys who appear in court before them. For that reason I am running against Judge Alfred Nance.

Judge Nance’s inappropriate behavior was known inside the courthouse 15 years ago, prior to his first election as judge. But in a conspiracy of silence from the courthouse and from the bar, the information never reached the public and he was elected.

He continued with his subtle sexual harassment of women, and finally he was investigated and reprimanded by the Judicial Disabilities Commission. But like a runaway train that can’t stop, neither did Nance. He was again investigated for harassment as well as for the disrespectful and bullying behavior he has come to be known for, such as berating a juror because Nance believed he was wearing his yarmulke crooked. Yet Nance was allowed to continue to sit as a judge because the Disabilities Commission lacks the will to take meaningful action against judges who misbehave. 

Through the years Nance has continued to enhance his reputation for the disrespectful and degrading way he treats people. Despite this, Governor Martin O’Malley has appointed him to a second 15-year-term, an action the governor should be called upon to explain.

We can now expect the legal establishment to do what it did last time: pretend that Nance is the best candidate possible because he is part of a slate of sitting judges that it picked. It will support Nance because it wants to pick the judges, not leave it to the people.

Today I say to the people of Baltimore: electing judges is the only protection you have from a legal establishment that refuses to admit that it was wrong. A legal establishment so stubborn it would rather repeat its mistake than protect you from a bad judge.

I call upon the bar to do the right thing: withdraw its support of Nance, and support a ticket without him. But I don’t expect it. So I am offering the citizens of Baltimore the opportunity to do what the governor and legal powers have failed to do: get an ill-tempered, harassing and bully of a judge off the bench.

I have practiced law as a legal aid attorney, a Coast Guard law specialist, and an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore. I worked hard in my career to improve the criminal justice system, even when those efforts came at my own personal expense. I understand the impact of crime on citizens. I also understand the impact of the criminal justice system on the individuals who go through it. We need a fair and balanced system, one that does not discriminate against the poor, one that protects citizens from violence, and one that gives offenders a realistic chance to change their lives and become productive citizens.

As a judge I will work hard to achieve this. And I will always treat citizens, whether they are witnesses, victims, defendants, jurors or attorneys, with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled.

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