Judge Orders Self-Represented Litigant To Be Given Electric Shock

This blog tries to avoid sensational horror stories about the courts, but this one is sui generis.  From the Washington Post.

Delvon L. King was acting as his own attorney in a gun-possession case when Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley ran out of patience. The judge said that King was being “non-responsive” and “rude” and “citing case law that did not apply to his case.”

So Nalley ordered a deputy sheriff to administer a shock to King via a remote-controlled black box strapped to the defendant’s ankle. “Do it. . . . Use it,” Nalley said, according to a transcript of the July 23 proceeding.

The device is called a Stun-Cuff, and when the deputy pushed a button on a handheld transmitter, 50,000 pulsating volts shot into King’s Achilles’ tendon for five seconds. The defendant screamed, fell to the floor and writhed in pain.

That will surely teach more rigorous citation of cases.

The text below was written before I was infokrmed that the judge had been removed, effective Sept 5.

The Maryland judiciary has, with exceptions, a good reputation.  On can only hope that the call by the state’s chief Public Defender for the judge’s removal will meet with an appropriate response, and perhaps some soul searching about who are becoming judges.  But:

The Charles County Sheriff’s Department has since released the findings of an internal investigation, which is required after every “use of force” incident. The investigation concluded that Nalley and Deputy Sheriff Charles P. Deehan, who administered the shock, had not acted improperly.

The Milgram experiment lives, and the Nuremberg Principles do not. As Wikipedia puts it:

Principle IV states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: “It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders'”.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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3 Responses to Judge Orders Self-Represented Litigant To Be Given Electric Shock

  1. Pingback: Good News on Electric Shock Judge | Richard Zorza's Access to Justice Blog

  2. Mary Ryan says:

    Although this is extreme, welcome to the world of those who have the courage to stand up and represent themselves.

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