Don't Taze Me Judge!

The courtroom can be exciting, better at times than anything you can see at the movies or on television.  Big things are being decided.  Nerves are taut.   Tensions are high.  Sometimes great fortunes are at stake.  Sometimes defendants are on trial for their liberty.  Sometimes the stakes are actually life or death.  I have been a lawyer in court for clients in all of these circumstances.  

So when you go into the courtroom take heed; this is serious business.  There is a judge sitting up there on the bench wearing a menacing black robe, clothed with great power.  That judge carries the authority of the state and the dignity of the office – the auctoritas and dignitas of the Romans.  Now, to tell the truth, judges being human beings, sometimes that authority is abused and sometimes the dignity is abased.  I once remember the report of the defrocking of a judge in California because, when attorneys began to argue their cases, he would spin his chair so that he faced the back wall and mumble incoherently to himself.  In the exciting instances when judges act so weirdly, of course, it’s better to be a witness to these abuses and indignities than to be the target of them.  That’s what self-representing defendant Delvon King learned the hard way not too long ago when he appeared before Maryland Judge Robert Nalley.

Delvon was arguing his own case.  Yes, you might say that he had a fool for a lawyer.   Even a fool didn’t deserve what happened to Delvon’s lawyer.  Certainly, Judge Nalley might have suffered Delvon’s arguments with a bit more judicial patience than he did.  But no, the judge did not like Delvon’s argument a bit.  I don’t think that he liked Delvon.  So, when Judge Nalley had heard enough and still Delvon, a passionate advocate for his own cause, continued to argue, well the limit of judicial patience was found and the hammer of auctoritas fell.  I’ve experienced and witnessed the limits of judicial patience before, many times.  Once, a good many years ago, my opponent was making his final argument to the jury when the judge, exasperated for some reason, interrupted this unfortunate lawyer who, no matter what the merit of his argument, did not deserve what came.  “Shut up; sit down; you’re through”, ordered the judge.  Oh!

Judge Nalley silenced Delvon differently, not with a crash of his gavel or with harsh unmeasured words, but with a better more powerful silencer, a 50,000 volt taser jolt.   “Do it”, the judge commanded the court’s bailiff, “use it”, the taser that is.  The bailiff did it and that did it.  Delvon finished his argument as his own lawyer with screams of excruciating pain - 50,000 volts of pain.

On March 31st Judge Nalley faced another judge in the Federal District Court in Maryland.  This time Nalley was the defendant and he was sentenced to probation for violating Delvon's civil rights by silencing him with a 50,000 volt electric shock.   Nalley has retired from the bench and the Maryland Supreme Court has barred him from returning to serve on temporary assignments, as retired judges often do.

Now most judges most times behave in a very civilized manner.  Usually judges are courteous to the lawyers and respectful to litigants, witnesses and jurors even or especially when the stakes are high and nerves are shattered and people are stressed and tired.  Judges like Judge Nalley are rare but the law of averages dictates that a few strange and abusive lawyers will make it to the bench.   

No matter what the dispute, whether it is a fortune at stake or issues of life and death, no matter the issues or the emotions, the angst and anger, Ed McGill will always champion your cause faithfully and energetically, without distraction, to achieve your goals, to win your case.

Content prepared by Edmond McGill. © Edmond McGill, 2016


This message and the information presented here do not create or evidence an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to convey legal advice or counsel.  You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a qualified lawyer licensed in your own state or country who actually represents you. In this regard, you may contact The McGill Law Office and then representation and advice may be given if, and only if, attorney Edmond McGill agrees to do so in a written contract signed by him.