Historical Perspectives: A Short History of Judge Steven D. Wyman

The subject of this brief sketch has been a hard charger, racing through the forests of life like a hungry bear, climbing over all the hills and wooded hurdles. At Steven D. Wyman’s 20th birthday, his long ill dad passed away, leaving his mom, sister and him at a hurdle of financial distress. He had graduated from City College high school and continued employment to supplement the household needs of his family. Going away to college was not then feasible. He had already been working at a pawn shop while in high school and continued this vocation while attending classes at Baltimore Junior College. Running hard, he paid his own way.

When he finished the AA degree at BJC (now Community College of Baltimore) he enrolled at the University of Maryland in College Park, where he was still paying his own way. He was working about thirty hours a week at Calvin’s Clothiers of College Park. Upon graduation, he glided down the aisles of herringbone tweeds at Hamburgers of Baltimore. He was also sprinting off to National Guard meetings and drills. During these restless years, he had a cathartic vision wherein he made a promise to the angels of Heaven, who were safeguarding his dad and another departed loved one. He vowed that he would become a lawyer. He enrolled in law school and traded in his clothier clients for parolees and probationers as a probation agent.

After passing the bar exam, two fortuitous events transpired. He wed his wife of 37 years, Master Jacqueline E. Wyman-Dawson, and he was hired by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office of William Swisher. There he worked along with future Baltimore County judges Robert J. Steinberg, A. Gordon Boone, Joseph F. Murphy Jr. and Thomas J. Bollinger. Judge Wyman says: “We had a uniquely talented office. I learned so much about law and even life. I made lifelong friends.”

One such friend wasPicture20 James G. Maggio, who became his law partner. After six years in the prosecutor’s office, electoral grenades were tossed onto the rooms and halls of the work place. Mr. Swisher had been defeated in his quest for a third term: His successor, Kurt L. Schmoke, would hire his own staff.

Judge Wyman and Mr. Maggio headed to Towson to form Wyman and Maggio, Attorneys at Law. They were more than glad to let their former boss Mr. Swisher share their office space. He would return to his Highlandtown roots, where he still maintains an office. Mr. Maggio left after 22 years and returned to his roots in Catonsville, where he remains. Judge Wyman, whom friends call Wymo, had occasional tenants for the vacant office. Some paid, some still owe. But the future judge would be running solo for seven years, until he got the serendipitous call from Governor Martin O’Malley, making him a District Court judge for Baltimore County.   

The appointment triggered an historic, exuberant, throw your hat in the sky celebration at his swearing in party at the Country Club of Maryland. It remains the biggest affair ever held at the club and one of the biggest ever for a new judge in Baltimore County.

As he did as a lawyer, he took off running as a judge. His law practice had been varied and busy, which made him the ideal District Court jurist. He did a lot of criminal work, but also did personal injury and business law, particularly liquor board work. Judge Wyman says, “We did everything, just as we do everything in District Court. I like the fast pace here. And we can impact people’s lives more so than at the other levels of the court system. We see a lot of people which, as a people person, I like.”

He also likes the comfort level of the Catonsville District Court with its great staff. He appreciates the pleasant camaraderie of sitting with Judges Marsha L. Russell and Kimberly M.  Thomas. They share mutual support and trust. They fear no grenades.

Judge Wyman and Master Wyman-Dawson’s three children went to college in the Carolinas. Matt went to Elon, Tyler went to the College of Charleston, and Kendall went to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Kendall got her MBA from the Citadel and still lives and works in the Carolinas.

As his father did, Matt Wyman went to the University of Baltimore law school and took over dad’s practice upon the judicial appointment. Matt was married at the Sheraton in Towson with Judge Phillip Tirabassi presiding, since the marriage occurred before Steve Wyman became a judge. Tyler Wyman recently married on the beach in Charleston, with the now Judge Steven Wyman presiding. The Carolina sun sparkled on the ocean water. The angels of Wymo’s early life vision could be heard singing among the rustle of the waves.

Tyler Wyman works for the Department of Defense as a ski instructor. Although he was always the running son, father, husband, salesman, agent and lawyer, Judge Wyman never had much time for recreational sports like skiing. He did start playing golf with his wife shortly after they wed. Their respective handicaps have both suffered due to back malaise; they each have endured back surgery. So they don’t go schussing down the slopes of the greens but relish the companionship and convenience of the golf cart.

Wymo and I are roommates at an annual golf pilgrimage to Shenvalee, a Shangri-La like resort in the Shenandoah Valley. We’re part of a clan of judges, lawyers and golfer wannabes. No Tigers. And despite his bad back, Wymo does play a decent game of golf.  It’s the only time he is not running like a loping bear. He leisurely chooses his clubs, carefully measures the arc of the terrain and eyeballs the distance to the pin. He renders decisions from the bench more quickly. Thus, you have a brief history of a solid guy, good friend and exemplary jurist.