The Washington Post

Reckless driving citation for Montgomery judge Brian Kim

A Montgomery County District Judge was cited for reckless driving Thursday after another driver told police the judge had driven erratically and cut her off along an interstate during evening rush hour, according to Maryland State Police.

Judge Brian G. Kim, 49, noted in Rockville legal circles for running a tight courtroom, faces a fine but no jail time in connection with the Oct. 18 incident.

The other driver, a Rockville attorney, told police the incident started around 6 p.m. in downtown Rockville over a lane dispute, according to law enforcement sources and the State Police.

It continued westbound to Interstate 270. The victim eventually called 911 from her car, according to police.

Kim’s attorney, Barry Helfand, said he expected the judge to pay the fine on Thursday.

There is no indication that the victim has ever appeared before the judge.

In a written statement, the victim told police that the driver of a Honda CR-V was driving agressively, tailgating, swerving toward her, and braking hard in front of her car and pulling next to her while gesturing, according to police. The judge was identified using Motor Vehicle Administration records and the victim’s description of the driver, police said.

At one point, the victim said, she had to brake heavily and swerve to avoid a collision, according to sources.

Kim presides in District Court, which handles relatively minor crimes when compared with the Circuit Court across the street.

On the bench, he is known to encourage defendants to get their life together before more serious charges or penalties come down. “Is he strict? Yes,” said Helfland. “He wants people to listen to him.”

In October 2006, Montgomery County Police Officer Philip Ragan was inside Kim’s courtroom. As he walked out, he flipped open his cell phone to prepare to make a call in the hallway, according to a police account at the time. Kim ordered a bailiff to confiscate the phone, according to police. It eventually was returned.

Outside of work, Kim plays the violin and has run marathons, Helfand said.

Early on in the case, state police contacted prosecutors at the Montgomery County State’s Attorneys office. Officials there referred the matter to Leonard Collins, who was then the Charles County State’s Attorney. Such a move is typical when there is a possible conflict of interest.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.

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