The Methods of a Judge Who Stands Up for Human Rights

Judge Wanda Keys Heard is a judge for Baltimore Circuit Court.  Once a month she experiences what they call a collateral day.  On this day a series of probationers enter the court for a status hearing, similar to a check back to see how they are doing on probation.  During these times she listens and assesses them to see the progress that they are making in society since their crimes.  She gives them recommendations in their lives and even helps find them a job.  How often they return to the courtroom for a status check is determinant upon how they are doing, if they are breaking rules committing crimes or not looking for a job or school then they will see her more often.  Those that are abiding by her rules will continue to excel and see her less and less frequently and sometimes even resulting with an end in their probation early.

From 2014 to 2016 her numbers have been consistent with her method.

Year                            2014                           2015                          2016                                                    Dispositions:               5%                             13%                           6%                                                                   VOP:                          32%                           29%                           38%                                                                  MMRS/Status:           63%                           58%                           56%

Disposition are when the defendant is sentenced to prison.  VOP is violation of probation.  And MMRS/Status is a status hearing.  The lower the disposition and VOP, the more likely the probationers will continue on probation with continuing status checks to then successfully complete probation with little to no damages on their record.

Her method is unique to those of the established order.  There is more developing on her story as she organizes with other judges to make an improvement in the system.


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