By Denna Bowman
A US county judge who deflated one of the tyres on a car parked improperly at the courthouse has pleaded guilty to tampering with a vehicle.
Robert Nalley, the tyres-tampering Charles County, Maryland circuit judge, was fined $500 and ordered to write a “heartfelt” letter of apology to the victim.
The court heard that cleaning lady Jean Wilson, 51, who works two jobs a day, had parked her car in an area labeled “restricted”. This is the area in which the judges usually parked.
Two local lawmen then witnessed the judge deflating the tyre. He was issued a citation after an investigation of the incident.
Nalley pleaded guilty and apologised to Ms Wilson, who sat in the courtroom. He said: “I am profoundly sorry. I am ashamed of the conduct.”
He added that his decision to deflate one of the tyres on the car embarrassed this community and embarrassed his family.
Citing the judge’s prior criminal record — none — defense attorney William Brennan asked for, and was granted, “probation before judgement”. Under that ruling, the charges will melt away if the defendant stays out of trouble.
But the visiting judge who heard the case, Anne Arundel Co. District Judge Robert Wilcox, fined Nalley the maximum penalty of $500 for his crime and ordered him to write a “heartfelt” letter of apology to the victim.
And it’s not over yet.
It was confirmed in court that the commission that oversees judges in Maryland is actively investigating Nalley’s conduct in this matter. The commission has the power to sanction and even fire judges.