Remember Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley? He of the infamous tire-flattening incident?
Nalley, for those who don’t remember, was suspended five days without pay in the summer of 2010 for deflating the tire of a cleaning woman’s car that was parked in “his” space outside the La Plata courthouse. Nalley told the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities he was “irritated and acted harshly” and called his actions “a failure of judgment.”
Nalley reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last September but has been hearing cases by special assignment since. Now comes word that Nalley reportedly ordered court security to use an electrical shock on a defendant in his courtroom when the man, representing himself, refused to stop talking.
According to the account by journalist Ruben Castaneda, the incident occurred July 23 in La Plata.
The defendant, Delvon L. King of Waldorf, was representing himself on gun charges and had been fitted with an electronic shocking device on his leg. Jury selection was about to start. King was trying to cite a court case when Nalley told him to stop. When King kept talking, Nalley ordered a sheriff’s deputy to “do it … use it” — that is, activate the shocking device, according to Castaneda.
King “crumpled to the ground in agony,” according to Castaneda, who reports the court transcript says “(DEFENDANT SCREAMS)” at the moment of the shock.
Nothing in the transcript indicates that King was acting in a threatening manner, or that Nalley ever attempted to cite him for contempt, Castaneda says.
Making matters worse for King: this happened right before he was to select a jury for his trial. King told Castaneda he thought the court would “give me time to recuperate” but the trial began as scheduled.
King was found guilty on all three weapons charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 24, according to court records.
Adding another twist to the case — King was not scheduled to appear before Nalley. Administrative Judge Amy J. Bragunier transferred the case for jury selection to Nalley because she was “irritated with King,” the defendant’s parents told Castaneda.
Once the jury was selected, the trial went back to Bragunier, according to Castaneda.
Neither Nalley nor Bragunier would respond to questions from Castaneda.
If you have any more information about this case, let us know.
[UPDATE, 3 p.m. Aug. 21: Angelita Plemmer-Williams, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary, says Bragunier had asked Nalley on July 22, a day before the incident, if he would handle the jury selection because she had a number of cases on her docket the following day.]