An Arnold resident believes an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge has shown some significant bias in his ongoing divorce case base on her own divorce. With a little digging, Marsden Furlow has discovered that the divorce records of Circuit Court Judge Pamela L. North have not only been sealed, but may have disappeared entirely. These records may reveal some of the bias alleged by Furlow. This disappearance, he claims, was at the hands of fellow Circuit Court Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis.
Marsden alleges that North, a defendant in her own divorce, has shown conflicts of interests and bias stemming from her divorce while trying to rule in his ongoing divorce. Fearing this conflict of interest, Marsden also learned that North’s case was settled out of court and the agreement was sealed. At this point, things begin to get a little hazy. According to online records, the case does not exist. Some cases are suppressed, but typically their existence (but not the details) is noted.
He learned that Circuit Court Administrative Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis ordered North’s case file be purged from the open records and all evidence of the case expunged off the Maryland Judiciary website. A visit to the Circuit Court in Annapolis bore out his hunch–there are no physical records available to the public in Annapolis.
On July 25th, Furlow hand delivered a Freedom of Information Act request to the Clerk of Courts, Robert Duckworth, asking for the documents in question. On August 6th, Duckworth responded with a “non-response” directing Furlow to the Maryland Judiciary website–where the records do not exist.
Based on the refusal of the Clerk of Courts to produce the records, on August 15, 2012, Furlow filed suit against Duckworth and the State Attorney General (address and signature redacted by Eye On Annapolis) asking the courts to compel them to provide the requested documents. In the suit, Furlow alleges that the documents are being willfully witheld, yet stops short of alleging a conspiracy.
We spoke with Furlow hoping to gain some additional insight as to why Judge North’s personal case was so important to his own . Furlow stated, “The release of Judge North’s secret divorce file may reveal some undisclosed conflicts of interest on the part of Judge North. All of us are entitled to the cold neutrality of an unbiased judge. Ms. North has made comments from the bench and ruled in my ongoing divorce litigation that indicates signs of prejudice and bias. Release of her files will either close the book on this issue or reveal another chapter in the mindset of this Judge.”
Based on suspected cronyism, Fuller has further requested that all judges in the 5th Judicial Circuit Court be disqualified from hearing this case and has requested an independent jurist, along with a jury trial.