"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Regulation of attorney speech with a stun gun and the farce of judicial discipline in Maryland - fascism in the courtroom enabled by the system

I just wrote a blog about the state of Nevada that only disciplines judges after a judge resigned, is disbarred and is convicted of a federal felony investment fraud.

The state of Maryland is even worse.

In the State of Maryland, Judge Robert C Nalley, a WHITE man

 who ordered a court officer to apply electric shock to a BLACK criminal defendant Delvon King

for advancing legal arguments on his own behalf, is

1) being prosecuted for a federal crime - civil rights violations (there is such a crime, people, and SOMETIMES it gets prosecuted, imagine!);

2) pled guilty at the very first appearance, apparently to get a lenient sentence and no jail time, as it usually goes for judges and lawyers;


not taken off the bench permanently, AS A MATTER OF DISCIPLINE, was allowed to "retire" and, there is no indication that Nalley was disciplined as an attorney and disbarred.

Since Devlon King was outfitted with a "Stun Cuff" for appearance in a trial where he was HIS OWN ATTORNEY, and was shocked because of LEGAL ARGUMENTS, the electric shock can very well be considered as a new form of ATTORNEY SPEECH REGULATION in Maryland courts.

Here are the history of accomplishments of Judge Robert C Nalley as reported by the Maryland Court system:

I will put it in bigger font:


Associate Judge, Charles County Circuit Court, 7th Judicial Circuit, 1980, September 30, 1988 to 1995, and September 14, 2009 to September 17, 2013. 

Retired September 17, 2013

County Administrative Judge, 1995 to September 14, 2009 (resigned as County Administrative Judge, Sept. 14, 2009). 

Chief Judge, 7th Judicial Circuit, September 4, 2010 to September 17, 2013

Chair, District Advisory Board, District 4, Public Defender System, 1983-96. 

Member, Task Force on Sentencing and Intermediate Sanctions, Cabinet Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 1995-96. 

Member, Family Law Committee, 2002-05, Maryland Judicial Conference. Member, Maryland State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, 2004-07; 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, Charles County, 2004-09. 

Administrative Judge, District Court of Maryland, District 4, Charles County, 1983 to September 29, 1988 (Associate Judge, February 2, 1981 to 1983). 

Assistant State's Attorney, Deputy State's Attorney, Charles County, 1971-75. State's Attorney, Charles County, 1975-80. 

Born in Washington, DC, September 18, 1943. 

Attended parochial schools in Charles and St. Mary's Counties; Gonzaga College High School, Washington, DC; 

Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, B.S., 1965; 

 Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1969. 

Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1969; District of Columbia Bar, 1970. 

Served in U.S. Army, 1969-71. 

Member, American Bar Association; Maryland State Bar Association (judicial administration section council, 2006-); Charles County Bar Association.

The Court of Appeals removed Judge Nalley as a recalled judge, effective September 5, 2014. 


JUST LOOK at the history of this creep.

He was educated in a religious school.

He was a Chair of the "District Advisory Board" for the PUBLIC DEFENDER SYSTEM!

He was a member of the Task Force in Sentencing and the mysterious "intermediate sanctions".

Of course, there is no such thing in criminal law as "intermediate sanctions", because a person can only be punished when he is convicted.

Yet, Judge Nalley devised quite an effective "intermediate sanction" for criminal defendants making legal arguments (as reported by Baltimore Post-Examiner):

"The incident occurred July 23 during jury selection, but apparently before any potential jurors were brought into the courtroom.

In the moments before Nalley ordered King to be shocked, the defendant did not threaten Nalley or anyone else, according to the court transcript. 

King did not make any threatening physical moves toward Nalley or anyone else, and did not attempt to flee, according to the defendant and his parents, Alexander and Doris King who were in the courtroom and witnessed the attack.


Nalley did not warn King in the moments before he ordered the officer to shock King, the transcript obtained by Baltimore Post-Examiner shows. The defendant was trying to cite a court case, and Nalley cut him off.

“Stop,” Nalley said, according to the transcript.

“… principles of common right and common reason are …” King said.

“Mr. Sheriff … ” Nalley said

“… null and void,” King continued.

“…do it,” Nalley ordered. “Use it.”


Moreover, according to the report, Nalley gave the command to shock THREE TIMES, making it more and more emphatic, and the officer obeyed the THIRD, emphatic, command.  

The electroshock of Devlon King was not the first time when Judge Nalley had a brush with the law because of his anger issues.

In 2009, a year BEFORE he was appointed Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor for deflating tires of a vehicle belonging to a "part-time maintenance employee who works in the Charles County Circuit Courthouse".

More specifically, Judge Nalley let the air out of the tire of a cleaner lady's car in retaliation for taking his "reserved for judge" place in the parking lot.

Moreover, Judge Nalley told the criminal court that he had deflated people's tires on previous occasions, too, because they were taking "his" reserved spot in the parking lot, and he was not either charged or prosecuted for those admitted crimes.

What did the Maryland disciplinary system do to the judge for committing (admittedly) several violent misdemeanor offenses?  

He was temporarily taken off his criminal docket, and in 2010 reportedly was reportedly suspended without pay for the whopping 5 days, while keeping his law license and his judgeship.

And, at sentencing for deflating the tires, Judge Nalley was judged by his former subordinate, given "probation before judgment" which reportedly resulted in conviction not appearing on Judge Nalley's record, and directed him to:

"write a 'heartfelt letter of apology' (because forced apologies always are heartfelt; ask Michael Vick) to his victim, Jean Washington, and to pay a $500 fine.   The visiting judge, who once served under Nalley, also gave him probation before judgment, which means the conviction won't appear on his record."

By the way - the fine is paid TO THE COURT.   It is incredible that the judge ordered no restitution to the victim for the property damage that the judge caused her.

But - that is the kind of disdain that "lower class" people get from judges.  Jean Washington is not entitled to anything than a "heartfelt apology" for a tire-slashing judge - who actually said that he believed what he did to her "was not a big deal".

When the scandal blew up in the press, Judge Nalley pretended to "resign" - not from the bench, but from his duties as "chief court administrator"

When he deflated the tire, he deflated the tire of his employee actually - discharging this way his duties of the "chief court administrator".

Here is what Nalley reportedly wrote in his letter of resignation as court administrator:
"I am at a stage of my career where I feel that I can be of more use to the judiciary as a judge in the trenches than as someone with budget, planning, personnel and other management responsibilities," Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley wrote to Robert M. Bell, chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. 
Nalley made no reference in the letter to this week's controversy over the tire deflation.

And, let us be clear as to how Nalley "let air out" of Jean Washington's tires - he slashed them.
Moreover, the court system immediately on conviction and after imposing this laughable token "discipline" imposed only to quash public scandal in the press, gave Nalley a consolation prize of elevating him to the position of the Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit in September of 2010.

I do not know what the "legal minds" of the "honorables" in the State of Maryland were thinking - if they were thinking at all - when they were putting a man with real anger issues directed to people of lower status, but it was a matter of time before the "Nalley Bomb" was going to go off.

 The peculiar fact is that Judge Nalley RETIRED in 2013, while was still allowed to continue hearing cases  - and the episode of electro-shocking Devlon King occurred in July of 2014, when he heard a case while being retired, so the question exists whether judicial immunity even covers him, whether it was lawful to allow a retired judge to continue to sit and hear criminal cases.


I am glad Nalley was charged.

I will reserve my opinion as to how good is the plea bargain until I research the information more in the federal court docket and see what was the offered sentencing - that information will be avaialble after March 31, 2016.

And, I hope, Judge Nalley's prior conviction for inflating the tires of Jean Washington's car, is used as aggravating evidence at the judge's sentencing in federal court - even though Nalley's friend Judge Wilcox made sure that he was given "probation before judgment" that would cause the conviction for slashing tires on Jean Washington's vehicle to not be a conviction.

But what bothers me - even though the press heralded that Nalley was "taken off the bench", I am not sure about that.  I found no court orders of removal for discipline.

The Maryland court system mentions that Nalley was "recalled", not disciplined.

The Maryland court system does not count Nalley among licensed attorneys, but there is no indication whether he was disbarred or allowed to quietly "resign" or "retire" without discipline.

It is all under the rug.

I hope Nalley NOW should go to jail, even if he pled guilty immediately and pled for leniency.

A person who insistently ordered to electro-shock a person for making legal argument SHOULD GO TO JAIL.  He should not be given a slap on the wrist.  There are no plausible grounds to allow him to remain free.

 *   *   *

Three additional afterthoughts.

 1) After Nalley was criminally charged BY THE FEDS and pled guilty - the report of the Sheriff's office (whose deputy actually shocked the criminal defendant at the judge's command) that found "no wrongdoing" in what Judge Nalley did - sounds as it should sound, as a cover-up of judicial misconduct.

2) "Prosecutors last month charged Nalley with deprivation of rights under color of law, a misdemeanor.  The charge came through a criminal information rather than a grand jury indictment. Such a move often signals that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty", and he did, at the very first appearance.

I wonder if this whole federal charge is yet another show to appease public anger, including anger at racial discrimination in the criminal justice system - remember, Nalley is white and King is black.

If the pre-agreement for such a charge is no jail time, it is simply not justice.  Not for this: "the deputy pressed a button that sent a 50,000-volt electrical charge to the Stun-Cuff attached to the ankle of the defendant, Delvon L. King, 25.   King screamed and immediately dropped to the floor, according to witnesses and a court transcript".

AND not for this:

"Authorities summoned paramedics, who examined King and determined he was not seriously injured, according to Garino’s report. Nalley then proceeded with the case and a jury convicted King of the gun charges."

Of course, King himself did not consider that he recovered enough to REPRESENT HIMSELF in a CRIMINAL TRIAL - after BEING ELECTRO-SHOCKED, and doing it in front of the very same judge who JUST had him electro-shocked.

But, Nalley ordered him proceed to trial just the same.  And he did.

And he was convicted.

After the conviction, "King then agreed to let Michael Beach, the chief public defender in Charles County, represent him.   Beach filed a motion for a new trial, asserting that King’s rights to a fair trial were violated because the sheriff’s office outfitted him with a Stun-Cuff without a judicial hearing, and that the use of the Stun-Cuff limited his ability to represent himself because he was in fear of being electrocuted again".

Let's remember, King was HIS OWN ATTORNEY in that criminal trial.

Imagine YOUR ATTORNEY "outfitted with a Stun-Cuff" so that he or she can be electro-shocked for the contents of her legal arguments.


And - this is the outcome of Devlon King's case.

"In November 2014, prosecutors and Beach resolved King’s gun charges with a probation before judgment agreement (REMEMBER probation before judgment agreement with Judge Nalley, also for a misdemeanor - only in King's case it was not violent (possession), while in Nalley's case it was violent (slashing the tires)),  in which the defendant avoids a criminal conviction if he abides by conditions imposed by the court. The agreement called for King to spend two years in jail, most of which he had already served, and Beach withdrew the motion for a new trial."

Apparently, the "time served" "agreement" was to absolve the judicial system of the embarrassment of keeping a black criminal defendant in jail FOR TWO YEARS BEFORE TRIAL  and then for electro-shocking him FOR MAKING LEGAL ARGUMENTS DURING THE TRIAL AS HIS OWN ATTORNEY and then FOR ORDERING HIM TO PROCEED AS HIS OWN ATTORNEY AFTER THE ELECTRO-SHOCK, no adjournments, before the same judge.

And - did I mention that the trial started before a DIFFERENT judge,  Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier, the chief administrative judge in Charles County Circuit Court.

Judge Bragunier was pissed with King's "sovereign citizen" arguments - whether they are good or not, is another question, but those were legal arguments advanced by a pro se defendant acting as his own attorney in a criminal trial in his own defense.

Chief Administrative Judge Amy Barguiner, knowing that Judge Nalley's "service" as a judge may be of questionable validity because he retired in 2013, knowing that Judge Nalley has a propensity to violence, knowing that King was "outfitted" illegally, without a judicial hearing, with a "Stun Cuff" by the Sheriff's Department, referred the case in the middle of jury selection to the racist Nalley who had a nickname "Guantanamo Bob".

I wonder if Judge Barguiner had an AGREEMENT with Judge Nalley as to what needed to be done with Devlon King.

And I wonder whether the feds will ever focus their roving eyes on Judge Barguiner.  After all, she appeared to have clean hands, dumping the dirty work on a judge with a known short fuse.

Yet, the after-taste of what Judge Barguiner, and not only Judge Nalley, did, still remains.






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