Former Charles County Circuit Court Judge Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

February 1, 2016

Ordered the Activation of a Defendant’s Stun-Cuff During Jury Selection

nalleyFormer Charles County Judge Robert C. Nalley, of La Plata, pleaded guilty today to deprivation of rights under color of law for ordering a deputy sheriff to activate a stun-cuff worn by a pro se criminal defendant during a pre-trial court proceeding.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta; and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

“Disruptive defendants may be excluded from the courtroom and prosecuted for obstruction of justice and contempt of court, but force may not be used in the absence of danger,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Under our constitution, judges serve as the guardians and arbitrators of justice,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When government officials – including judges – violate the rights we entrust them to defend and break the laws we expect them to uphold, they undermine the legitimacy of our justice system.”

From 1988 to September 2014, Nalley was a judge of the Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland. According to his guilty plea, on July 23, 2014, Judge Nalley presided over the jury selection for the victim, who was representing himself in a criminal proceeding in Charles County court. Before the proceedings began, a deputy sheriff informed Judge Nalley that the victim was wearing a stun-cuff. Judge Nalley was aware that when activated, the stun-cuff would administer an electrical shock to the victim, thereby incapacitating him and causing him pain.

Several minutes after the proceedings had begun, Judge Nalley asked the victim whether he had any questions for the potential jurors. The victim repeatedly ignored Judge Nalley and instead read from a prepared statement, objecting to Judge Nalley’s authority to preside over the proceedings, while standing calmly behind a table in the courtroom. The victim did not make any aggressive movements, did not attempt to flee the courtroom, and did not pose a threat to himself or to any other person at any point during the proceedings. Judge Nalley twice ordered the victim to stop reading his statement, but the victim continued to speak.

Judge Nalley then ordered the deputy sheriff to activate the stun-cuff, which administered an electric shock to the victim for approximately five seconds. The electric shock caused the victim to fall to the ground and scream in pain. Judge Nalley recessed the proceedings.

Nalley faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison followed by one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,000. U.S. Magistrate Judge William Connolly has scheduled sentencing for March 31, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta commended the FBI for its work in the investigation, and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristi N. O’Malley and Daniel C. Gardner of the District of Maryland, and Trial Attorney Mary J. Hahn of the Civil Rights Division, who are prosecuting the case.

CLICK HERE to read the plea agreement.

16 Responses to Former Charles County Circuit Court Judge Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

  1. Keepin It Real on February 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Lots of people will be rally happy about this. LOL

    • Anonymous on February 1, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Criminals will certainly be rejoicing.

    • anonymous on February 3, 2016 at 10:44 am


  2. Steve on February 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I wonder if the guy getting the shock was white would we be here. I think not, civil rights violations we all know it for minority use only. Judge may be nuts, I blame who ever oversees the courts who let this guy continue after the flat tire episode.

  3. liz on February 1, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    This Judge is and was an absolute joke. I was I his court room, with a friend fews years ago. I could not believe the things he said and did. I could tell he enjoyed his power, he just did what he wanted right or wrong. And in my friends case he was so wrong. Told her shouldn’t have gone by his order, she should have known what he ment. So she was punished for obeying his written order. Remember “You should have known what I ment” WAS UNBELIEVABLE.

    • Roger on February 2, 2016 at 4:33 am

      What? I can’t understand this.

      • liz on February 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm

        Sorry that I was unable to explain clearly. Thank you for not being mean about it.

    • Fixin Stupid on February 3, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      What is truly unbelievable is the fact that my tax dollars paid for your obviously terrible education!

      • liz on February 8, 2016 at 6:49 pm

        How is insulting me, Fixin Stupid? AND what makes you think YOUR tax dollars went to my education.

  4. Annonomous on February 1, 2016 at 6:55 pm


  5. Anonymous on February 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    The “victim” is this case is a straight up POS. shame on Nalley for stooping to his level. Should have found him in contempt of court and sent his arse to the detention center until he learned to behave himself. Now that turd will get a hefty sum from U.S. taxpayers.

    • Oscar Meyer on February 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

      The “victim” will sue and win. I saw him interviewed and it sounded like he had already been told what to say from a lawyer. “It hurt but I suffered mental anguish mostly”. POS

  6. George on February 1, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Eh, who cares. The defendant received more punishment form the “shock” then he would have from a court sentence. And the victim felt he got a slap on the wrist?? Well, victim….to many of you defendants get a slap on the wrist in the Maryland court system. So fair is fair.

  7. Anonymous on February 1, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I have been in his courtroom before and can clearly understand why he did what he did.

    • And the excuses begin..... on February 2, 2016 at 10:59 am

      I completely agree.

  8. liz on February 3, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Isn’t he the judge that flattened some poor ladies tires?