Hon. Cathleen M. Vitale See Rating Details
Circuit Judge
Circuit Court
Anne Arundel County
5th Circuit
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Attorney Average Rating:   6.1 - 28 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   7.0 - 11 rating(s)
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Only items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating.


General Rating Criteria

* Temperament (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Scholarship (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Industriousness (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
* Ability to Handle Complex Litigation (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
* Punctuality (1=Chronically Late,10=Always on Time)
* General Ability to Handle Pre-Trial Matters (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
* General Ability as a Trial Judge (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
Flexibility In Scheduling (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)


Criminal Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Plea Discussions (1=Not at all Involved, 10=Very Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Pretrial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Trial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Sentencing Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)


Civil Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation (1=Not at all Evenhanded,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Involvement in Settlement Discussions (1=Not at all Involved,10=Very Involved)
General Inclination (1=Pro-defendant, 10=Pro-plaintiff)
Comments


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What others have said about Hon. Cathleen M. Vitale


Comments


Litigant

Comment #: MD9136
Rating:1.0
Comments:
This judge is rude, condescending, biased, and just plain mean. I was completely shocked by her behavior in the courtroom.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD9118
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Just awful

Other

Comment #: MD9072
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
Terrible judge. Working on filing appeal and working with panel representing unfairly treated women in her courtroom. Does not due her due diligence in research prior, belittles defendants and looks for easy way out. Does not service the community by their needs.

Other

Comment #: MD9029
Rating:1.0
Comments:
This judge has a horrific, unprofessional temper. Loses composure with both adults and children. Does not consistently rule in accordance with what is in the children’s best interest and disregards opinions of BIA. Habitually late. Heavy handed in favor of defendants.

Other

Comment #: MD8937
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Very highly regarded by bench and bar. Patient, smart, articulate. Destined for CSA. Benefitted enormously from years of close proximity to 3C.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8930
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Horrible as an attorney, worse as a judge. Should never have been appointed. Absolute disgrace.

Litigant

Comment #: MD8918
Rating:1.0
Comments:
this judge is rude, condescending, acts superior to everyone else, and is overall a nasty person.

Other

Comment #: MD8541
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
Judge Vitale can see right through covert aggressive narcissistic female behaviors. False female DV accusers with the aiding of their second husbands & (paramours) should be incarcerated for the creation of false evidence, bad faith conduct in parental alienation measures, and directly falsifying case information regarding an innocent parent.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8538
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Let’s begin...I was a bystander today in my wife’s custody trial that has been on going between her and her abusive ex for 9 years.
Immediately, Vitale expressed favor in the defendant (I’m sure that she thought my partner was just another controlling coparent — way off). Laughing at his jokes, and then telling my wife “it’s my court room don’t speak out of turn.”
From there things went from bad to worse.
To top off that this has been an ongoing case for 9 years that has repeatedly fallen through the cracks (Kids Dad kicked my door in and still nothing was done). We gave her case numbers for every offense he currently had open, but instead she looked him up by name and didn’t use his full name and said she couldn’t find any of the cases. I can assure you they are there.
She then proceeded to chastise my partner and I for literally having NO choice other than to leave because of the abuse, loosing our jobs in the middle of a pandemic, AND having our house we own being rented out (wouldn’t address or comment on the abuse (THAT IS DOCUMENTED ON CASE SEARCH)). After proving multiple charges against the defendant, that he didn’t have a suitable living situation for the kid, doesn’t have any interest in parenting other than control, and can’t keep his record clean she ALMOST gave him PHYSICAL custody just to prove a point to my wife that even if he is abusive and it is a pandemonium and you can’t afford outrageously expensive Maryland, we shouldn’t have left Maryland because it’s in the “best interest of the child” when he doesn’t ever see dad. Dads family is not stable. Horrible decision. You just gave an abusive father who DOES hit his kid (sorry it didn’t come up in court, sweetie — you wouldn’t let us talk) too much time with him and way too much power.


She’s a life ruiner.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8500
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Seems almost redundant to post something good about Judge Vitale, but I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have drawn her for my appeal.

Unassailably ethical, even-handed, and knowledgeable. Didn't hold a grudge against me when I had to fire my attorney in open court and continue two months later pro se. (The attorney tried to withdraw two days before my appeal without telling me, then after another judge denied it, tried to get me to agree to let him withdraw at the podium.)

I showed up at the next hearing prepared, and while she commented once on my former attorney, didn't penalize me for it at all. Then she reversed every one of the lower court's (100% improper) rulings in my favor. It was a good day for justice.

Very knowledgeable and utterly fair, in my experience. (My opponents, who were represented by a lawyer, might disagree, but they'd be wrong. Again.)

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8407
Rating:8.9
Comments:
I can”t believe the post from the last person. Judge Vitale does bring lawyers into her chambers if there is a problem with the lawyers. She’s done that to me. I’d rather she tell me in in her chambers then in front a client. As for the “get out of my chambers”, I have never had her say that without a smile on her face. I don’t think the writer is being fair. She says, “now go and get out of here, I’m right behind you”, and she follows into the courtroom. I will say that she is a no nonsense person. Don’t expect warm and fuzzy, She’s all business. My recommendation is learn your judge . Knows her stuff. Will learn what she doesn’t know, Rarely gets reversed.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8375
Rating:9.9
Comments:
Judge Vitale is one of the best judges on the bench in Anne Arundel County. Be aware, she will question you and your client if something is "not right" do not try and fool or play games with this Judge!!! Judge Vitale is fair and highly regarded by the bar. Other judges should mirror Judge Vitale.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8369
Rating:1.8
Comments:
I don’t usually practice in AA County and was absolutely horrified by Judge Vitales’ courtroom demeanor and anger towards both myself and even more so towards opposing counsel. She told us both to “get out of her chambers” and then proceeded to denigrate both of us to our clients for no reason whatsoever. I will stay away from AA county in the future.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8332
Rating:9.8
Comments:
fair, evenhanded. listened to the victim and DIDN"T send a man to jail beyond the plea even though it deserved more time. she won't take a binding plea, but she will listen to everyone and will generally follow the plea on sentencing

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8173
Rating:9.6
Comments:
I have now had several pretrials and other telephone conferences with Judge Vitale. It has resulted in settlement of 4 out of my 7 cases. Some were discovery disputes and three were pretrial conferences. Eventhough the conferences were for 3 hours she put in extra time to see that we got settled. She uses her mediation skills and her knowledge of the law, the current court situation and new laws going into effect to help our clients realize what might happen if their cases were delayed and the cost to do so. Her willingness to do so was a refreshing touch in these otherwise intolerable situations we lawyers find ourselves in.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8148
Rating:1.3
Comments:
Unbelievable that a Judge and formal public servant could be so unpleasant, rude, insensitive to officers of the Court. I contemplated filing a judicial complaint against her but I don’t want to have to deal with her embittered personality anymore. I have practiced for over 25 years and she is by far has the worst judicial temperament I have ever seen. I hope she gets some insight into her conduct and seeks some help. A Judge is an impartial fact finder and administrator of justice who should assist and facilitate justice not attempt to bully parties, attack parties who have disabilities, and interfere with the civility of parties who are working collaboratively to proceed in contentious litigation. Her conduct is reprehensible and she should resign if she cannot demonstrate a pleasant and impartial demeanor on the bench.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8140
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Continues to impress me with her attention to arguments and willing to admit when she's not sure of the law

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8125
Rating:9.5
Comments:
Sat through part of a domestic case and a criminal sentencing last week. First time I have watched Judge Vitale since she was appointed. Not many judges take steps to ensure that pro she litigants get a fair trial in her court, but Judge Vitali was making sure that the attorney did not run over the Plaintiff trying to put on a case by himself. As for the criminal case, high profile, case with difficult circumstances for the families. I wish them well. You could see that the case weighed on the Judge who took the time to properly prepare for the sentencing. Both the criminal case and the family law case were lucky to have her as their judge

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD8122
Rating:3.7
Comments:
Short tempered, and yelled at me for no reason when I was asking for clarification, completely rude and power gone to her head. At times she was nice, but completely favored the father in a custody case and judged my client before she even testified. Its these judges who favor litigants without even hearing their testimony that disgusts the justice system. The fact that she made a judgment on my client's allegation of sexual abuse of a child and openly stated that it was to get a favorable custody ruling is completely disrespectful of victims. I will be for sure appealing this case. I'm sure the appellate court won't be pleased with her judgmental statements on the transcript.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD8081
Rating:9.7
Comments:
What a day on Judge Vitalie's courtroom! Soverign citizens, missing defendants, major holiday, fog and just crazy people. I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently she handled the criminal docket. She had one of the soverign citizen guys who kept trying to push her buttons, but she was as calm as can be. I would have lost it if I was her. When a defendant showed up late for afternoon court who needed to be there in the morning, she withdrew the bench warrant as I expected she would but she also found humor in the defendant's excuse for being late. She could have been a jerk, but she wasn't. I was pretty impressed.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD7970
Rating:10.0
Comments:
I can't figure out why there is a post that says Judge Vitale is unethical. Makes no sense unless someone is upset with her ruling. She is by far one of the most ethical. She puts on the record if there is a conflict and even there just appears to be one... takes ethics to a new level with making sure people feel comfortable in her courtroom. Been infront of her for the last four years and always found that she was fair to everyone. She can be heavy handed with sentences, especially for young people as a lesson, but she will reconsider and modify if the person has shown they have or can be rehabilitated. Poor sportsmanship on the person who gave her a bad rating.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD7960
Rating:1.0
Comments:
By far one of the worst jurists on the bench. She thinks she is above the law. Has no judicial temperament. Underhanded. Conniving. Crosses the line ethically. Very ethically challenged. But made it on the bench anyway. Came with very little litigation experience. An embarrassment to the judiciary.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD7899
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Consistent, even-tempered, great to appear before... AA County got this one right.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD7843
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Judge Vitale is a good, studious judge. Complex business litigation with confidentiality issues was handled very well. Obvious she is up on recent case law both state and federal. Asset to Anne Arundel's bench

Litigant

Comment #: MD7807
Rating:10.0
Comments:
A judge who doesn't give preferences in divorce cases! Everyone told me that I would lose just because I was the guy but she listened to what I did for my kids. Got partial custody. Wish she had listened aboout support though...it's killing me.

Other

Comment #: MD7437
Rating:8.0
Comments:
I had to stand before on an appeal . She was tuff, hard and stern . I really thought I would loose once again to my husband ( who I'm trying to divorce ). I felt hopless but she really surprised me . I even was able to get emergency funding from my husband . Being military she knew I had other rules to follow as well . She really helped me out I think she saw and knew I was beat up by this whole ordeal . I heard a lot about her and wasn't sure . I really want to thank her for hearing me and my case and giving me a chance and talking to me . AJ

Other

Comment #: MD7186
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Vitale was never appointed or elected judge. Another judge retired and left the chambers empty. She just moved her shit in.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD6949
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Handled my client's very difficult situation with care and concern. Unusual fact pattern and most judges would not have taken time to listen and be willing to allow for creative sentencing options. State sought incarceration, judge was willing to consider house arrest with conditions...tough case, difficult weighing of public protection and private citizen

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD6897
Rating:1.1
Comments:
This judge should join Alfred Nance in the removed from office for good cause line. Very unprofessional, racist and unethical. Many who know her from the time she was a legislator can't figure out how sh made it to the bench with her demeanor and lack of judicial temperament.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: MD6863
Rating:9.1
Comments:
It’s refreshing to find someone on the Anne Arundel County bench who can handle matters other than criminals and divorce. Judge Vitale had a complex civil matter that required knowledge in multiple areas of law. I was quite surprised to see how prepared she was, asked questions of both counsel for clarification and was prepared to render a prompt decision. Refreshing to find someone who knows something other than domestic and criminal law.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD6810
Rating:7.8
Comments:
Had her in court yesterday with a large docket. Case was a plea. Vitale listened and let my client speak as long as he wanted. Outcome was ok, slightly better than what I hoped for for client. She had another case that looked like it was troubling for her. The defendant was not listening to own counsel and it made it worse. Only negative I would say is that Judge Vitale has to brush up on the new probation violation steps..she'll be quicker and the cases will get finished sooner!

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: MD6803
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Unfit.

Litigant

Comment #: MD6651
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Judge Vitale handled a domestic violence protective petition. I was surprised that she gave so much time to us. Both sides - and she really figured out what was going on! I didn't think they could give the case that much time, since in District court is happens so quick...She really listened.

Litigant

Comment #: MD6614
Rating:8.0
Comments:
Courteous, understanding of my position. Even though I thought judges shouldn't ask questions, the ones she asked were good questions

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD6598
Rating:8.0
Comments:
I am surprised to see the rating from the person who believes that Judge Vitale rules based on political contributions. I have known the judge for more than two decades and have always known her to be fair in the way she acted as a lawyer and when she was a representative. If anything, she goes out of her way to help everyone and to try to be as fair as possible. Her lack of civil jury experience has not affected her abilities on the bench and she holds a case to learn the law if she isn't sure on something. I believe she is one of the hardest working judges there. I have never given a campaign donation and have lost and won cases for my clients in front of her. She goes out of her way to make sure that if you are in front of her and she believes there may be a conflict she has told everyone about it, her knowledge of the subject and offered to have cases reassigned if clients or lawyers are uncomfortable. So far I think she is doing a good job.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD6593
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Putting her on the bench was a huge mistake. She had little, if any, jury trial experience, which explains her incompetence. She also is short tempered and mistreats litigants. A colleague shared that she mistreated her client probably based on who contributed to her political campaign.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD6484
Rating:8.4
Comments:
Matter was family law... The Judge was willing to meet with counsel to try to iron out the difficulties in the case before trial began. Even after case began, settlement was always encouraged. Handled discovery dispute extremely well, considering the other side did not provide documents, even after court ordered him to

Other

Comment #: MD6382
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Judge Vitale is very knowledgeable about the law. I was before her and she made her point in a very respectful and knowledgeable way. There was no bias towards either side. Judge Vitale is fair, reasonable, and willing to listen even if the argument is unreasonable.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD6378
Rating:3.0
Comments:
When I heard she was appointed to the bench, I had high hopes. But the power of the bench sometimes makes the small great, and the great small.

She seems to have let her power totally go to her head. She is short tempered and seems to favor defendants in civil cases. It will take more time to be sure, but it seems that putting her on the bench was a mistake.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: MD6192
Rating:3.5
Comments:
Perfect example of why to not appoint a judge solely due to political background. If one of her political friends is your opposing litigant or attorney, you have lost the case. Demands the right to be a bully-boy while on the bench. Closer to unfit as anyone on the Anne Arundel bench.