The Court of Appeals of Maryland (L to R): Judge Brynja M. Booth, Judge Michele D. Hotten, Judge Robert N. McDonald, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Judge Shirley M. Watts, Judge Joseph M. Getty, Judge Jonathan Biran. Source: Court of Appeals of Maryland.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland, the state’s highest court, has removed Kent County Orphans Court Judge Amy Nickerson from office. In an order issued on March 26, the Court adopted the findings of fact submitted by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

According to the CJD’s findings , Nickerson’s problems began following a traffic stop on March 9, 2018 that led to traffic citations, including alcohol related charges. The CJD’s findings of facts recount evidence from the traffic stop that included Kent Country Sheriff’s Department video and statements from the deputy.

Better days. Amy Nickerson campaigning in 2018. Source: Facebook.

The stop came just as the 2018 election cycle was beginning. Her charges were well covered during the following months. Nickerson was reelected in November 2018 in a 4-way contested Orphans Court election.

Nickerson’s traffic stop was resolved in the District Court for Kent County with probation. The alcohol charge resulted in a “judgment of acquittal” subject to a Conditional Diversion Agreement with the District Court to comply with certain alcohol-related terms, according to the CJD findings. The CJD also found that Nickerson failed to demonstrate compliance with the probation terms.

A complaint about Nickerson’s conduct was filed with the CJD in 2019 and resulted in a reprimand subject to compliance with certain terms, including court probation. The findings of fact indicate that Nickerson did not object to the reprimand. The CJD charged her with failing to comply with the reprimand and the lawful requests of the CJD, among other charges that included improper use of judicial position.

Nickerson attended the CJD hearing that led to the findings of fact, but was not represented.

The Court of Appeals decision is final and unappealable. The Kent County Republican Central Committee will submit a nomination to fill the vacancy to Governor Larry Hogan for appointment.