Transparency battle over judges rulings in Maryland

How much or how little do you know about the judges who hand down justice? A controversial bill in Maryland is pitting lawmakers against judges.

The bill would make it easier to find out whether judges went along with - or against - sentencing guidelines when deciding cases.

The bill is Gov. Larry Hogan's effort to inject more transparency into Maryland's judicial system. Most judges are elected into Maryland, but how much does anyone know about how they rule? Are they too strict, or too lenient?

The governor's office argued at a Senate committee meeting that the public needs more information about what their judges are doing.

"We need transparent publicly available information system about how our state's judicial system is sentencing violent offenders, we need to understand what is happening and why it is happening," said Kara Sullivan of Hogan's office.

Right now, the public does not have an easy way to find out how a judicial district is ruling. Are they hard on murderers? Are they consistent on domestic violence cases? Are they following sentencing guidelines or tossing them aside? Getting that info out is the goal of the bill.

So who's opposing the bill? Many Maryland judges.

On Thursday, circuit court judge Shannon Avery called the bill "ill-informed" and said that allowing the public to have information on how their judges rule wouldn't capture the underpinning on why a single judge in a single case may have deviated from guidelines ranges.