Proposed Maryland amendments

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maryland constitutional convention question

Should a constitutional convention be called for the purpose of changing the Maryland Constitution? Under Article XIV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, the General Assembly is required to ask the voters every 20 years whether a constitutional convention should be called for the purpose of altering the Maryland Constitution.

Trial by jury

Under articles 5 and 23 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, a party in a civil proceeding has a right to a jury trial where the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000. In cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed this threshold amount, a judge, rather than a jury, determines the verdict. The constitutional amendment would increase the amount-in-controversy limitation by providing that a party may not demand a jury trial in civil proceedings unless the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000, excluding attorney's fees if attorney's fees are recoverable in the proceeding.

Qualifications for Baltimore City Orphans' Court judges

Under the Maryland Constitution, the voters of each county and Baltimore County elect three judges to the Orphans' Court of their respective jurisdictions, with the exception of Montgomery and Harford counties, where circuit court judges sit as the Orphans' Court. The judges must be citizens of the state and residents, for the preceding 12 months, in the city or county in which they are elected. The constitutional amendment would add an additional eligibility requirement for judges of the Orphans' Court in Baltimore City, requiring them to be members in good standing of the Maryland Bar who are admitted to practice law in Maryland.

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