Judge Shirley M. Watts Joins Court of Appeals

On July 3, 2013, Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Judge Shirley M. Watts to the Court of Appeals. Judge Watts represents the Sixth Appellate Judicial Circuit (Baltimore City).

Court of Appeals rug with seal

Judge Watts had served on the Court of Special Appeals since 2011 and on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City from 2002 to 2011. She has the seat on the bench that was held by Judge Robert M. Bell, who retired in July after serving on the Court of Appeals since 1991 and as chief judge since 1996.

After graduating cum laude from Howard University, Judge Watts received a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in 1983. She began her legal career practicing criminal law and spent four years as an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore City. Judge Watts then served nine years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland, where she represented indigent criminal defendants and served as supervisory assistant public defender for four years. In 1997, Judge Watts accepted an appointment as a federal administrative law judge. She served as chief administrative law judge for the Office of Hearings and Appeals in Maryland from 1999-2002, when she was appointed to the Circuit Court.

Judge Watts is a member of the Baltimore City and Monumental City bar associations, as well as the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys and the National Association of Women Judges. For several years, Judge Watts was an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where she taught trial practice. She was awarded the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law award in 2011, and has been active for many years with Jack and Jill of America, Inc.