ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Anne Arundel District Court Judge Shaem C.P. Spencer has been named administrative judge for District 7 (Anne Arundel County) of the District Court of Maryland. Judge Spencer succeeds District Administrative Judge John P. McKenna, Jr., who will step down from his administrative judge role in preparation for his retirement in June of 2023 after 20 years on the bench.

With the approval of Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader, District Court of Maryland Chief Judge John P. Morrissey named Judge Spencer district administrative judge, effective October 20, 2022.

“On behalf of the Maryland Judiciary, I congratulate Judge McKenna on his distinguished judicial career,” said Chief Judge Fader. “Judge McKenna continues to serve with honor to the benefit of the people of Anne Arundel County and Maryland, and he will be missed upon his retirement next spring. Judge Spencer is an excellent choice as a leader to continue providing fair, effective, and efficient access to justice for all.”  

District administrative judges oversee the court’s administration and manage trial calendars to ensure the expeditious disposition of cases.

Judge Spencer was appointed as an associate judge to the District Court in Anne Arundel County in September 2008 by then-Governor Martin O’Malley. He currently serves as a member of the Equal Justice Committee of the Judicial Council. Judge Spencer also founded and presided over Truancy Court in Anne Arundel County. Judge Spencer previously served as a member of the Court Interpreters Committee, Maryland Judicial Conference, from 2009 to 2012. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Spencer served as an assistant state’s attorney for Prince George’s County from 1998 to 2002. He also served as a city attorney for the City of Annapolis from 2003 to 2008 and an assistant city attorney from 2002 to 2003.

Judge Spencer leads the District Court in Anne Arundel County’s Schools in the Court Program, where high school students learn about poor decisions’ legal and financial consequences. The students hear actual court cases with local people involved with the legal system due to drunk driving, speeding, texting while driving, or other offenses. The program also allows the students to speak with the judge and court personnel in a question-and-answer session and meet key players in the court process, including police officers, K-9 units, emergency room nurses, public defenders, state attorneys, bailiffs, and more.  

Judge Spencer earned a Bachelor of Arts from Western Maryland College, majoring in political science, in 1994. He earned a Juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1997 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year. Judge Spencer served as a law clerk to Judge Graydon S. McKee III, Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, from 1996 to 1998. In addition, he has served as an adjunct professor at Western Maryland College. Judge Spencer served as a volunteer football coach at the Bowie Boys and Girls Club, a soccer coach at the Severn Athletic Club, and he is currently the Commissioner of the Severn Soccer Club.

“I have worked with Judge McKenna for many years, and I am honored and humbled to be elevated to the administrative judge,” said Judge Spencer. “I hope to continue his excellent stewardship of District Seven. I thank Chief Judge Fader and Chief Judge Morrissey for their votes of confidence in me to serve in this new role.”

“As I near retirement in the spring, I am pleased to pass the baton to my colleague Judge Shaem Spencer as the new administrative judge of the District Court in Anne Arundel County,” said Judge P. John McKenna, Jr. “Having served on the bench with Judge Spencer since his appointment in 2008, I know that he will fulfill his responsibilities as an administrative judge with the same energy, passion, and imagination that he has displayed in shaping this court’s truancy docket and the Schools in the Court Program as well as his other duties as a District Court judge.  Judge Spencer’s fellow judges on the District Court in Anne Arundel County have likewise expressed their complete confidence and trust in Judge Spencer as he begins this new and exciting phase of his judicial career. I congratulate my friend and fellow judge, Shaem Spencer, on this much-deserved appointment.”

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