Vote NO on Question 5
This patchwork reform of the Orphans’ Court system makes no sense. Voters should oppose continuing this bizarre reform of the Courts one county at a time.
Question 1 talked about the renaming of the courts, and the unnecessary nature of such a renaming. But there’s another question on the ballot that would impact our court system.
Question 5 Amendment would completely eliminate the Orphans’ Court of Howard County and would instead move the Orphans’ Court docket to the Circuit Court of Howard County.
There is a tremendous amount of confusion as to what the Orphans’ Court is. The Orphans’ Court does not deal with Orphans at all, it handles estates and disputes related to the execution of estates and wills. Traditionality, Orphans’ Court judges need not be lawyers.
Over the last decade or so, there has been a push to reform or eliminate Orphans’ Courts. Harford County and Montgomery County have already eliminated their Orphans’ Courts and moved the cases to the Circuit Court, as proposed in Howard County. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County have amended their Orphans’ Court qualifications to allow only attorneys who are members of the Bar to serve.
This patchwork reform of the Orphans’ Court system makes no sense. I have no vested interest in the qualifications of Orphans’ Court Judges or even the continued existence of Orphans’ Courts themselves. But what I do oppose is continuing this bizarre reform of the Courts one county at a time. It is illogical that Marylanders may face different courts and differently qualified judges depending on where the will gets filed.
Until the General Assembly decides to create a uniform standard for Orphans’ Courts, I will always oppose this piecemeal approach. Voters should vote NO on Question 5.