We will miss Judge Ann Brobst of Baltimore County Circuit Court

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.


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.