Judge's Record

Speaks for Itself

Let me see if I have the facts straight regarding one of our judges, Richard A. Palumbo:

1. In 2001, shortly after being installed as a Prince George's County judge, said judge was cited for failure to remain at the scene of an accident after he ran into the back of a bus and then walked away. He was found not guilty of the offense. (How?)

2. Earlier this year, the man, still a judge, caused a two-vehicle accident and was found "at fault" by the responding trooper, but no citation was issued. This man told the woman whom he hit that he was a judge and asked her not to call the police. When she did call them, he then tried to clean up the debris before they arrived. He "stumbled to his knees five or six times," according to the woman, but we don't know whether he was tested for impairment. In any case, no citation was issued. (Why not?)

3. Even earlier this year, this same man received a ticket for doing 59 mph in a 35 mph zone, but that ticket was subsequently voided by the Maryland State Police after it was learned the speeder was a Prince George's County judge. (We should all be so lucky as to get our tickets voided.)

4. Somewhere along the way, this judge has paid at least two speeding fines since being seated on the bench. How many more were dismissed? And why or how does he still have a driver's license? (How many speeding tickets can we get and continue to drive legally?)

5. Next, the unconscionable. A protective order in a domestic violence case was dismissed by this judge, who made condescending and unprofessional remarks to the woman pleading for help, then lied about the whole thing after she was doused with gasoline and burned over more than 50 percent of her upper body. (Why lie? The court proceedings are on record.)

6. It has now been ascertained that this judge has repeatedly refused to grant protective orders to numerous other abused women, many of whom have been further threatened and injured. What must women do to get any degree of protection from the system in this county? (Maybe we need fewer good-ole-boy judges.)

7. The last straw in this disheartening saga of an obviously entrenched, unethical, seemingly incompetent and continually law-breaking judge was published in the Nov. 1 Washington Post. This judge has been living on his out-of-county estate since before being appointed to the bench. (Didn't the governor know where this guy lived?) Not only is this illegal, in that a sitting judge is required to live in the county he serves, but he lists his nephew's house in Prince George's as his own for voting and driver's license purposes. Then he claims both houses as principal residences! What gives? Any of us who get caught doing this stuff would be heavily fined, if not jailed, for all the lying on official documents. (Doesn't one have to swear to tell the truth when signing these papers?)

Enough is enough, or in this case, way too much. I am disgusted with the apparent flagrancy on the part of everyone involved in furthering the injustice of our justice system.

Barbara Benfield