Thursday, July 22, 2010
Deflated Judge, Suspended
All the great legal blawgs: Legal Profession, Above the Law, and, of course, the ABAJournal.com are featuring the report about the 5 day suspension for the Charles County, Maryland Judge (on Above the Law he had the distinction of being named "Judge of the Day") who took justice into his own hands and deflated the tires of a custodial worker who parked her Toyota (pic, for amusement, only) in the courthouse restricted parking without the appropriate authorization. Here's the Baltimore Sun account:
"The Maryland Court of Appeals has ordered a five-day unpaid suspension for a Charles County judge accused of letting the air out of car tire belonging to a woman who was a cleaning worker at the courthouse in La Plata. Two sheriff's deputies reported that they saw Circuit Judge Robert C. Nalley letting the air out of the right rear tire of a Toyota on Aug. 10, 2009. The judge explained that he was annoyed at the woman for having parked in a restricted area of the courthouse.
Nalley was cited for tampering with a vehicle and pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge. He was fined $500, ordered to apologize to Jean Washington, the owner of the car, and placed on six months of unsupervised probation before judgment. He was also suspended from overseeing criminal cases while the matter was being investigated by the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, which oversees disciplinary matters involving judges. The commission, which held a hearing on Nalley's case on April 28, could have recommended to the appeals court that Nalley be removed from office.
The appeals court's ruling revealed Nalley's admission that he had let the air out of someone else's tire about 10 years ago. The court concluded that the judge's conduct in the more recent case 'raised a serious safety issue by potentially endangering the life of the driver of the auto, who might have driven the auto without realizing the tire was flat.'
The court noted that Nalley, a former prosecutor who has served as a judge for 30 years, is 'extremely remorseful[.]' "
One of the Judges who heard the disciplinary case would have limited the sanction to a public reprimand.