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Judge Under Fire for Comments to Alleged Domestic Abuse Victim Decides to Retire

Posted Sep 12, 2012 10:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Listen to audio from the hearing at issue.

A controversial Maryland judge has announced his retirement after he was criticized for his remarks to a woman seeking a protective order against her husband.

Judge Bruce Lamdin, 64, of Baltimore County will retire on Oct. 1, the Baltimore Sun reports. At a December hearing, Lamdin chastised the tearful complainant for failing to press charges and for staying in the family home.

The woman seeking the order said her husband had “busted” her arm, thrown her to the floor and stomped her in the ribs. Her son hid in the closet with a hammer, she told the judge. Her husband, a veteran, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, she testified, and also nearly burned down their house.

A Washington Post editorial has more details; the newspaper also posted audio from the hearing.

Lamdin expressed concern that the husband would have nowhere to live and suggested the alleged victim was staying with her husband for financial reasons. “Where is he going to live if I put him out of the house?” the judge asked. The woman said she had $100,000 in student debt and did not have enough money to leave.

Lamdin told the woman she could have gone to a shelter rather than stay in the house, and she had put money over safety. "You allow money to control your better judgment, because it's the easy way out," he said. Lamdin did, however, grant a temporary protective order, although he advised the woman it may not help. The order is “nothing more than a piece of paper,” he said. “You can hold a piece of paper up in front of this gentleman, and he can shoot you right through it.”

Lamdin was suspended for 30 days in 2008 for uncivil and profane language.

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