BALTIMORE, Md.–Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell nearly collapsed while giving a speech honoring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall at the University of Maryland School of Law around 6:30 p.m. on March 27.

In mid-sentence, after he had been speaking for about 45 minutes and apparently near the conclusion his address, the judge began to waver at the lectern. “Grab him, grab him,” a member of the audience yelled.

Several of the 50 people in the courtroom raced to the podium to support the judge while others called for medical help. Many expressed surprise as Bell’s speech ended abruptly and he was helped into a chair.

Bell said he had not eaten since the night before.

Paramedics arrived within minutes of the apparent medical emergency. The event was ended and the audience was directed to leave while paramedics conducted a quick medical assessment.
Less than 20 minutes after the emergency technicians arrived, Bell was escorted from the room unassisted.

Court spokeswoman Terri Bolling said March 28 the judge was taken to Mercy Hospital after the interrupted lecture. He was released after a brief assessment and was not admitted.
“He was working really fast and really hard all day and night and he hadn’t eaten. He was feeling light headed.” said Bolling. “Today he is feeling better. He is working from home today.”

Bell, who will celebrate his 70th birthday on July 6, is a few months shy of mandatory retirement age for judges in the state of Maryland which is 70.

Bolling said Bell has not announced his post-retirement plans.


Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers