AUGUST 18, 2009
In a bizarre story that has made national headlines, a veteran Maryland judge has been suspended for deflating the tire of a car because it was illegally parked in his designated courthouse spot.
The judge (Robert Nalley) in south central Maryland’s Charles County says he took the air out of the offender’s tire because leaving notes on the windshield over several days proved ineffective. He downplayed the incident, claiming that he didn’t think taking the law into his own hands was a “big deal.”
The car belonged to a part-time courthouse cleaning lady who says that she was warned by a sheriff’s deputy that if she didn’t move her car, the judge was going to let the air out of her tires. When she went back to the vehicle after her shift, her tire was indeed deflated. Two law enforcement officers actually saw the judge taking the air out of the tire and one captured the act on his cell phone camera.
Judge Nalley refuses to apologize and insists he flattened the tire because the car repeatedly parked in the restricted courthouse spaces. "Absolutely, I plead guilty," the judge told a local newspaper. He said that, instead of inconveniencing the vehicle’s driver by calling police and having the vehicle towed, he simply let the air out of one tire.
The longtime jurist and former county prosecutor has been suspended from presiding over criminal cases until the matter is resolved. Judge Nalley voluntarily resigned as the county’s chief administrative judge though not from the bench. Police are investigating the incident and the judge assures that he’ll “surrender” if they ask him to.
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