It was indeed tragic to hear that Judge Anne Brobst passed away this week. Therefore, I am posting an article that I wrote for the Baltimore County Bar Association Advocate monthly magazine in February, 2010. After experiencing the joy of Judge Brobst’s investiture, I felt compelled to write this article. This piece comes from the Advocate issue that can be found at http://www.bcba.org/UserFiles/File/Advocate%20Feb%202010.pdf. If you go to page 13 of that edition, you will see some priceless photos that I was not able to copy. Everything in the article below is as true today as the day I wrote it. Regrettably, the last sentence of this piece did not come true.
THE INVESTITURE OF JUDGE ANNE BROBST
I was fortunate to be present at the investiture of Judge Anne Brobst on December 16, 2009. Every investiture
has it’s own style, and Judge Brobst’s would have to be described as elegant, compassionate and energetic. Her
choice of speakers evidenced that she will be a fair-minded judge. State’s Attorney Scott Schellenberger
(her boss until her elevation to the bench) and defense attorney Lenny Shapiro, delighted the audience with
stories of their experiences with Judge Brobst.
When Judge Brobst spoke, she fondly remembered Judges Edward DeWaters and William Hinkle, and
acknowledged Judges John Hennegan and Dana Levitz’ s role models (calling Judge Levitz her “rebbe,” the
Yiddish word for “Rabbi”). She spoke lovingly of her childhood and with great devotion about her father, who
robed her, and her mother, who is deceased. Her parents were married for 50 years.
Her sensitivity, to the citizens who will appear in her court, was quite admirable. This understanding was
gleaned from serving the public as a prosecutor since 1979, including 23 years as Chief of the Circuit Court
Division of the State’s Attorney’s Office. She spoke of having to be “sympathetic” to those with less
opportunity than herself. She was sensitive to the fact that all who appear before her, whether as plaintiff or
defendant, petitioner or respondent, are in court due to a “sadness” that has touched them greatly. To help the
parties who appear before her overcome this “sadness,” ”we can make positive change one case at a time…..
with dignity, compassion and respect.”
She spoke of her appreciation of the task of the Criminal Defense bar who will appear before her and
who toil every day to obtain the best possible result for his/her client. As an attorney who represents criminal
defendants, I found Judge Brobst’s words inspiring and energizing. Her comments also reminded me of huge
responsibilities that criminal defense attorneys face on a daily basis. Because most of us are small/solo attorneys, we
do not have layers of paralegals or secretaries to shield us from the needs of our clients. This responsibility of
directly dealing with our clients and bringing them back from the precipice in their lives, is both exhausting and
invigorating. Our mission of attempting to obtain the best possible result from their “sadness” defines both us and our
profession. It is reassuring that Judge Brobst, although serving as a prosecutor for 30 years, is so sensitive to our
role in the system.
After listening to her speech, it is clear that Judge Brobst was a wonderful choice by Governor O’Malley. I wish her
good health and many years of happiness as a Judge.