Former Maryland Judge Pleads Guilty to Ordering Deputy to Stun Defendant

A former Maryland judge pleaded guilty Monday to deprivation of rights under color of law for telling a sheriff's deputy to stun a criminal defendant during a pre-trial proceeding.

Federal prosecutors accused former Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley with an episode of misconduct while Nalley served on the bench in July 2014, the News4 I-Team first reported.

In their court filings, the prosecutors said Nalley ordered the deputy to activate a Stun-Cuff, a remote-controlled device that deploys electro-shocks, against a criminal defendant. They said doing so deprived the victim of “due process of law.”

The victim, Delvon King, was representing himself in a criminal trial when he repeatedly ignored Nalley during jury selection, reading a prepared statement instead, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. When King twice ignored Nalley's instructions to stop reading the statement, the judge ordered the use of the Stun-Cuff.  

The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by a year in prison, but by pleading guilty, Nalley will get only probation.

King said the sentence is a "slap on the wrist."

The Maryland Court of Appeals removed Nalley as a judge in September 2014. He had previously been disciplined for a 2009 episode in which he was accused of tampering with a motor vehicle. A state investigation said Nalley used a cutting device to deliberately let the air out of the tire of a car parked in his reserved courthouse parking spot.

Nalley will be formally sentenced March 31.

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