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First Lady and Judge Katie O'Malley Goes the Extra Mile
February 13, 2009

Maryland First Lady and state judge Catherine Curran O’Malley (far left) hosts a Russian rule of law delegation at the governor’s residence in Annapolis during a 2007 Open World exchange.
Annapolis, MD — The Maryland governor’s residence might seem like an unlikely setting for a working dinner for Russian jurists, but state First Lady Catherine Curran O’Malley doubles as a Baltimore District Court judge—and in that capacity serves on the steering committee of one of the Center’s longtime local host organizations, the Maryland/Leningrad Region Rule of Law Partnership. In 2007 and again in 2008, Judge O’Malley and her husband, Gov. Martin O’Malley, welcomed an Open World judicial delegation from Maryland’s Russian sister state of Leningrad Region and neighboring St. Petersburg to Government House for a reception and working dinner, and Judge O’Malley has kindly offered to host a group of Russian justices of the peace there in 2009.

Judge O’Malley literally goes the extra mile to promote rule of law partnerships with Russia: in February 2008, she and Open World hosts U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett of Baltimore and Montgomery County Circuit Court Administrator Pamela Harris led a reciprocal visit to Leningrad Region to work with Open World judicial alumni and others on domestic-violence prevention and prosecution. (In doing so, Judge O’Malley was following in her father’s footsteps: as Maryland Attorney General, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., traveled to Russia in the 1990s to promote rule of law ties with the newly post-Communist country.) Judge O’Malley impresses her Russian Open World counterparts not only with her dedication to her dual role as first lady and sitting judge, but also with her interest in their language, which she studied in school.

The Maryland/Leningrad Region Rule of Law Partnership in which Judge O’Malley participates is part of the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium, an Open World grantee that pairs U.S. states with Russian regions for rule of law reform. Judge O’Malley’s fellow steering-committee members include such other Maryland legal luminaries as Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Mary Ellen Barbera; Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy; attorneys Cheryl Lardieri of DLA Piper and Dale Kelberman of Miles & Stockbridge P.C.; Pamela Harris; and Judge Bennett, the steering committee’s co-chair. All have been deeply involved with Open World exchanges to Maryland and follow-on work with alumni in Leningrad Region.

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