Md. judge reprimanded for setting bogus trial date

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — A state panel has reprimanded a Washington County judge for intentionally setting a bogus trial date to hasten the settlement of a civil case.

Circuit judge John McDowell received a written reprimand Oct. 24 from the state Commission on Judicial Disabilities. The reprimand was first reported by The Daily Record of Baltimore.

McDowell told the commission he was short-sighted in trying to move the case along.

The case was a dispute between a homeowner and a developer. They had apparently reached a settlement but hadn’t filed papers to close the case.

On Feb. 15, McDowell scheduled a jury trial the next day even though he knew the case wouldn’t be heard and no jurors would be called.

The 59-year-old judge has been on the circuit court bench since 1993.

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