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Ex-judge must take anger-management classes

March 31, 2016

A former Maryland judge who pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation for ordering a defendant to be physically shocked in his courtroom will have to take anger-management classes as part of his sentence.

Robert C. Nalley of La Plata, Maryland, was sentenced Thursday in federal court to the classes along with a $5,000 fine and a year on probation. Under a plea agreement, both prosecutors and Nalley's lawyer had recommended one year's probation.

Nalley acknowledged in the agreement that in July 2014 he ordered a deputy sheriff to activate a "stun-cuff" a defendant was wearing around his ankle, leading the defendant to fall to the ground and scream. Nalley acknowledged as part of the plea deal "that the use of the stun cuff was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances."

Nalley ordered the shock during jury selection after the defendant, who was representing himself in a criminal trial, objected to Nalley's authority to conduct the proceedings. After the man repeatedly ignored Nalley's questions and his commands to stop speaking, Nalley told the deputy sheriff to activate the "stun-cuff."

"Do it. Use it," Nalley said, according to the plea deal's statement of facts.

The defendant stopped speaking when the deputy sheriff approached him and activated the device, which administered an electric shock for about five seconds.

Nalley was a judge in Charles County from 1988 to September 2014. The Maryland Court of Appeals rescinded Nalley's ability to hear cases several months after the incident.

This is not the first time Nalley has been a defendant. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to tampering with a vehicle after he deflated the tire of a cleaning woman's car that was parked in a restricted zone at the courthouse. As a result, he was fined, had to write a letter of apology and was suspended for five days without pay.state.

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