A Baltimore judge facing a possible suspension denied a peace order recently for a Glen Burnie man who was allegedly killed Monday by the neighbor he named in the petition.
Baltimore City District Judge Devy Patterson Russell has been sitting in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties while the Court of Appeals decides whether to impose discipline for her conduct toward colleagues on the Baltimore bench and her failure to properly process search warrants.
The Commission on Judicial Disabilities recommended a six-month suspension in November for what the panel determined was sanctionable conduct.
Two months ago, Russell presided over a peace order hearing in Anne Arundel County at which Tyrique Hudson, 22, claimed his neighbor harassed, stalked and threatened him, the Capital Gazette newspaper reported.
James Allan Verombeck, 53, was arrested Monday after a 10-hour standoff with police, according to the Annapolis newspaper. He is charged with first- and second-degree murder and related offenses for allegedly shooting Hudson in the Colonial Square Apartments.
A temporary order was granted Feb. 16 that prohibited Verombeck from abusing or contacting Hudson, but Russell later denied the requested relief after a hearing on Feb. 19. Electronic court records indicate the judge found no statutory basis for the relief.
Details about the hearing were not immediately available, but the rules governing judicial ethics expressly state that sanctionable conduct “does not include making an erroneous finding of fact, reaching an incorrect legal conclusion, or misapplying the law” unless it involves fraud or raises a question about the judge’s fitness for office.
The Commission on Judicial Disabilities found in November that Russell created a “difficult, uncomfortable, tense and unprofessional work environment” in the district court. Russell denied allegations of discourteous and bullying behavior and testified that she was not responsible for the tense atmosphere, accusing her colleagues of isolating her.
A spokeswoman for the Judiciary told the Capital Gazette on Tuesday that Russell was still serving as a judge but has been temporarily relocated from Baltimore pending a decision by the Court of Appeals.
Russell is facing additional charges, made public last week, for allegedly attempting to manipulate an incident report to cast another judge in a bad light.
Investigators for the commission contend Russell committed sanctionable conduct by using her office to advance her personal interest, interfering with court business, failing to cooperate with other judges and employees, and giving a perception of impropriety.
This judge needs to be suspended immediately