Conference of Circuit Judges elects new leaders

Queen Anne’s County Circuit Judge Thomas G. Ross has begun a two-year term as chair of the Maryland Conference of Circuit Judges (CCJ). The Conference of Circuit Judges serves as a policy advisory body to the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The conference works collaboratively and in consultation with the chief judge in developing policies affecting the administration of the circuit courts. Its 16 members include the circuit administrative judge from each of the eight judicial circuits and one circuit judge elected from each judicial circuit.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge John W. Debelius III was elected vice-chair of the conference, succeeding Judge Ross, who had served as vice-chair since 2010. Judge Ross and Judge Debelius were both elected at a conference meeting in November 2012, and presided at the CCJ’s first meeting of 2013 in March.

JUdge Thomas G. Ross
Judge Thomas G. Ross

Judge Ross succeeds Baltimore City Circuit Judge Marcella A. Holland, who had served as chair and vice-chair. Judge Holland, the circuit administrative judge for the 8th Judicial Circuit (Baltimore City), will continue to serve on the conference.

Judge Ross has been circuit administrative judge for the 2nd Judicial Circuit (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties) since April 2009. He was appointed to the bench and named administrative judge for Queen Anne’s County in January 2004. Before his appointment, Judge Ross was in private practice and was a partner in the law firm of Ross and Powell from 1982-2003. After graduating from Florida State University, Judge Ross studied at the University of Baltimore School of Law and received his law degree in 1978.

Judge John W. Debelius III
Judge John W. Debelius III
Courtesy of The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz

Judge Debelius was appointed circuit administrative judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit (Frederick and Montgomery counties) and county administrative judge for Montgomery County in September 2009. He was appointed to the Circuit Court in July 2001. He is a designated judge for the Judiciary’s Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR) Center Program. Before joining the bench, Judge Debelius practiced law with Debelius, Clifford, Debelius, Crawford, & Bonifant from 1979-2001. He received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1978.

“I am honored to follow Judge Holland, who, with her predecessors, has laid a solid foundation for us to build upon,” Judge Ross said. “Our continued goal is to improve the administration of and access to justice in our state courts. For example, we are actively planning for the future as we build toward the implementation of the Maryland Electronic Courts project, a single Judiciary-wide integrated case management system which will be used by all the courts in the state court system.”