Legal Ethics

Md. Judge Fined $10K, Gets Probation in Shoreline Dumping Case

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A longtime Maryland judge accused of illegally dumping unauthorized materials along the shoreline of his waterfront home, in an apparent effort to build up a storm-damaged beachfront, has entered into a plea deal.

“District Judge Askew W. Gatewood Jr. pleaded not guilty to one count of unlawfully filling state wetlands without a license but avoided a trial by agreeing to the prosecutor’s statement of facts,” reports the Baltimore Sun.

He was sentenced yesterday to pay a $10,000 fine, serve one year of unsupervised probation and remediate the area under a plan approved by state and federal officials. He reportedly has one year to complete the work at the Bay Road property, which is on the Patapsco River in Pasadena. The 57-year-old judge also was ordered by Circuit Judge Eugene Lerner to pay Anne Arundel County $6,500 in damages.

Meanwhile, 11 other counts in the indictment were dismissed and Gatewood is likely to wind up without a criminal record, the newspaper writes. The state dropped the charges because “the primary goal was for the wetlands to be restored, and that’s the charge we had today,” Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Doug Gansler, tells the Examiner.

Counsel for Gatewood declined to comment after Monday’s court hearing, but the defense has maintained his innocence in court and contended that Gatewood was simply repairing storm damage at his home, as he has done in former years without objection.

Darrell Pressley, a Maryland judiciary spokesman, says no decision has been made about whether the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities will be asked to investigate Gatewood’s conduct. He tells the Sun, however, that an investigation is “a potential next step.”

Gatewood has been on the bench for more than 20 years.

Earlier coverage: “Md. Judge Fights Environmental Charge” “No Discipline Case for Judge Facing Environmental Charges”

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