Judge Who ‘Sentenced’ Alleged Abuser to Married Life Faces Ethics Probe
Posted Mar 26, 2010 7:35 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Two groups that fight domestic violence have filed ethics complaints against a Maryland judge who stopped a trial to perform a marriage ceremony between an alleged abuser and his victim.
The House of Ruth Maryland and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland are seeking an ethics investigation of Baltimore County District Judge Darrell Russell Jr., according to The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.
After Russell performed the marriage, the alleged victim was exempted from testifying under Maryland’s spousal privilege. Russell then acquitted the defendant and said, "I found you not guilty, so I can't sentence you as a defendant in any crimes. ... But earlier today, I sentenced you to life married to her.”
Russell was removed from the bench and assigned to his chambers after the incident.