Judge who deflated tire suspended
The Charles County judge who deflated the tire of a maintenance worker outside the La Plata courthouse last year has been suspended without pay for five days.
The Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, set the suspension as a punishment for Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley. The court agreed on the sanction Tuesday, and the order was signed Wednesday, Nalley's attorney said.
That attorney, William C. Brennan, said Nalley, 66, would not comment on the supension. It was not immediately clear when the suspension is to occur.
In April, Nalley testified in an administrative hearing in Annapolis that his actions were "calculated," but benign. In a hearing before the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities, Nalley said the 2004 Toyota Corolla was parked without authorization in a restricted zone designated for him.
Nalley testified he did not know who owned the car. Its owner, Jean Washington, is a member of a part-time cleaning crew at the courthouse.
"It was not thoughtless," Nalley testified. "It was calculated in the sense I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. I didn’t want (the car) to be towed. I didn’t want it to be ticketed."
Nalley also said at the hearing that if he considered leaving a note, he rejected the idea. In deflating the tire, Nalley said, he wanted the driver to know of his "displeasure" that the car was parked without authorization.
The commission, its investigative counsel, and Nalley and his attorney agreed that the judge should be suspended for five days, Brennan said.
The tampering was witnessed by two Charles County sheriff’s deputies, one of whom captured Nalley’s actions with a cellphone camera.
Within days of the incident, Nalley resigned as chief administrative judge in Charles County. He was then suspended from presiding over criminal cases in adult and juvenile court. He still presides over civil cases.
In October, Nalley pleaded guilty in Charles County District Court to tampering with a motor vehicle. The judge gave Nalley probation before judgement, which means Nalley would not have a conviction on his record if he successfully completes the terms of his probation.
Nalley was also fined $500 and ordered to write a “heartfelt” letter of apology to Washington.
-- Ruben Castaneda
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