Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley Cited for Deflating Tire Near Courthouse

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Charles County judge who admitted to deflating the tire of a car that was parked near the courthouse last week was cited Friday for tampering with a motor vehicle.

Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley walked into the La Plata Police Department building and accepted the citation, said Chief Cassin B. Gittings. "He signed it, and that's that, until there's a court date," Gittings said.

Nalley did not return a phone call.

The case will be handled by John Maloney, deputy state's attorney in Montgomery County. The case was given to Maloney after Leonard C. Collins Jr., the Charles County state's attorney, recused himself, Gittings said.

Tampering with a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The state Commission on Judicial Disabilities is investigating Nalley's conduct, according to three legal sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because such probes are secret. The commission can recommend a wide array of sanctions, including removal from the bench.

Last week, William D. Missouri, chief administrative judge for Maryland's 7th Circuit, which includes Charles, suspended Nalley from presiding over criminal cases until the tampering allegations were resolved.

The incident occurred the afternoon of Aug. 10. Two Charles County sheriff's jail officers saw Nalley deflate the tire of a 2004 Toyota Corolla parked near the La Plata courthouse, according to two sources. One of the officers videotaped the event with his cellphone camera, the sources said.

The car belongs to Jean Washington, 51, who is part of an evening cleaning crew. The Waldorf woman said she parked in a restricted zone because her work shift ends at night and she wanted to be close to her car.

Nalley acknowledged deflating the tire to the Maryland Independent and to Missouri.

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