Today I'd like to draw your attention to a particularly vile man – G. Darrell Russell Junior, a county judge in Baltimore. But to get to him, first we must look at the case of Frederick D. Wood, a 29 year old man from Middle River. Police had been called to Wood's home on November 29th last year in response to a domestic disturbance report. They found Wood's fiancee with a bloody nose and she claimed that he'd hit her in the face, kicked her and banged her head against the wall. Wood was charged with second degree assault and appeared in court on March 10th when he pleaded not guilty in front of Judge Russell.
During the case Wood's lawyer, an as yet unnamed public defender, asked the Judge for a postponement to allow Wood and his fiancee (who had stupidly decided that a life of physical abuse is preferable to a small amount of time without a man) to get married. The defender then explained to the judge that the woman would invoke her marital privilege not to testify against her husband once the wedding had taken place. Now if anyone here has any sense they can see how awful that would be in any case, nevermind one about abuse. Any good judge would have fined the lawyer for attempting to obstruct testimony and gone on with the case. Unfortunately G. Darrell Russell is not a good judge and decided to collaborate with the alleged wife beater in order to get him off. Not only did he allow Wood to leave the court and obtain a marriage license, he offered to perform the ceremony himself and two hours later he married them in his chambers. Russell then resumed the case and found Wood not guilty due to lack of evidence (ignoring the police report detailing the woman's injuries and her initial statement which were heard in the case), and even joked with him about the marriage:
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 has been removed from all the cases he was presiding over and reassigned to work from his chambers reviewing motions for civil cases pending a full investigation of his actions in this case and a review of his previous judgements.