Marrying Judge Faces Heat
In November of last year, Frederick Wood, 29, of Maryland, was involved in a domestic altercation with his 27 year old girlfriend. The police report noted extensive injuries to her.
Wood was charged with second-degree assault, a misdemeanor. His case came to trial on March 10 before Judge Darrell Russell, Jr., District Court Judge for Baltimore County, Maryland.
When the case was called, Wood’s attorney asked that the trial be taken off the calendar because the couple intended to marry. The wife could then invoke spousal privilege which would prevent her from testifying against her husband and the case would be dismissed.
The judge refused but he did declare a break in the trial that day so they could obtain a marriage license. When they returned to the courtroom with the license, Judge Russell married them in his chambers. He found the defendant not guilty.
Judge Russell has been reassigned to chambers by the Chief Judge, and the House of Ruth said it intends to make a complaint to the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.