For­mer Judge sen­tenced in fed­eral court

Pled guilty to de­pri­va­tion of rights in Fe­bru­ary

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

For­mer Judge Robert C. Nal­ley of the Charles County Cir­cuit Court was sen­tenced in fed­eral court on Thurs­day for vi­o­lat­ing a crim­i­nal de­fen­dant’s con­sti­tu­tional right of due process in a 2014 episode in which he or­dered a court­house se­cu­rity of­fi­cer to ad­min­is­ter an elec­tric-shock to the man, who rep­re­sented him­self as his own at­tor­ney. The de­fen­dant screamed and fell to the ground as the shock was de­liv­ered by the deputy upon the push of a but­ton.

Nal­ley, 72, of La Plata, was sen­tenced by U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Wil­liam Con­nelly to one year of pro­ba­tion and was or­dered to pay a $5,000 fine at a rate of $500 per month, hav­ing en­tered a plea for de­pri­va­tion of rights un­der color of law in Fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to court records. He was also or­dered to com­plete

an anger man­age­ment pro­gram as di­rected.

The charge, a mis­de­meanor, car­ries a max­i­mum penalty of up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The ba­sis for the charge was that Nal­ley could have

in­voked al­ter­na­tive meth­ods to re­move the un­ruly de­fen­dant from the court­room.

On July 23, 2014, the de­fen­dant, Delvon L. King, who had been charged with

un­law­ful gun pos­ses­sion, was not fol­low­ing proper ju­di­cial deco­rum.

“Dis­rup­tive de­fen­dants may be ex­cluded from the court­room and pros­e­cuted for ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and con­tempt of court, but force may not be used in the ab­sence of danger,” stated U.S. At­tor­ney Rod J. Rosen­stein.

Nal­ley was rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­ney Robert C. Bon­sib, who pro­vided a state­ment on the sen­tenc­ing to the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent.

“Judge Nal­ley has ac­knowl­edged that he erred in the man­ner in which he at­tempted to have Mr. King act ap­pro­pri­ately in the court­room. Judge Nal­ley’s ac­tion should be viewed in the con­text of his hav­ing had knowl­edge that Mr. King was on trial for il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of a gun and was also on pro­ba­tion for a sim­i­lar of­fense and that Judge Nal­ley had been told that ear­lier that same day King had mis­be­haved be­fore an­other judge,” Bon­sib wrote in his state­ment.

“King was in cus­tody be­cause at a prior hear­ing in this gun case he had fled from the court­room and had had to be ap­pre­hended by deputies. Mr. King was quoted by a deputy who es­corted King out of Judge Nal­ley’s court­room af­ter the stun-cuff was ac­ti­vated as brag­ging that ‘you know that’s just a show. This is go­ing to be all day long, so you bet­ter be ready.’”

Dur­ing the ini­tial court pro­ceed­ings, King would not re­spond when Nal­ley asked him if he had any ques­tions for po­ten­tial jurors dur­ing jury se­lec­tion. In­stead, King pro­ceeded to read from a pre­pared state­ment which ob­jected to Nal­ley’s au­thor­ity to pre­side over the hear­ing, as he calmly stood be­hind the de­fense ta­ble, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

King did not act ag­gres­sively or at­tempt to flee the court­room dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings. Rather, he was ig­nor­ing Nal­ley when he twice or­dered that he stop read­ing from his pre­pared state­ment.

He con­tin­ued to read aloud.

The pro­ceed­ing was go­ing nowhere be­cause of King’s an­tics, but rather than hold­ing him in con­tempt, the judge de­cided force was nec­es­sary.

Nal­ley, frus­trated with King’s be­hav­ior, or­dered the se­cu­rity of­fi­cer, Charles P. Dee­han, to ac­ti­vate the elec­tro-shock de­vice fas­tened around King’s an­kle, known as a “Stun-Cuff,” ef­fec­tively send­ing 50,000 volts cours­ing through his Achille’s ten­don for five sec­onds upon the push of a re­mote but­ton, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported.

King was later sen­tenced to serve two years in jail with the rec­om­men­da­tion that he im­me­di­ately re­ceive a men­tal health eval- ua­tion and treat­ment with the Depart­ment of Corrections, court records show.

Nal­ley was later re­moved as a judge by the Mary­land Court of Ap­peals in Septem­ber 2014, de­spite a use-of-force re­port con­ducted by the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice that con-cluded that the ac­tions taken by Nal­ley and Dee­han were not im­proper, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

Though, it wasn’t the first time the judge had been rep­ri­manded.

In Au­gust 2009, Nal­ley — up­set that some­one had taken his park­ing spot — de­flated the tire of a court-house cus­to­dial worker. He ad­mit­ted to the of­fense and was sus­pended from pre­sid­ing over ju­di­cial mat­ters for five days with­out pay.

A cou­ple months later in Oc­to­ber, Nal­ley pled guilty and was fined $500 for will­ful mo­tor ve­hi­cle tam­per-ing with­out owner’s con­sent, records in­di­cate.

“Un­der our con­sti­tu­tion, judges serve as the guard-ians and ar­bi­tra­tors of jus-tice,” said Prin­ci­pal Deputy As­sis­tant At­tor­ney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s Civil Rights Divi­sion, in a press re­lease. “When govern-ment of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing judges — vi­o­late the rights we en­trust them to de­fend and break the laws we ex-pect them to up­hold, they un­der­mine the le­git­i­macy of our jus­tice sys­tem.”

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