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Judge Will Take Anger Management Classes for Ordering Man to Be Shocked

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on April 04, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Judge Robert Nalley, the judge who pleaded guilty to civil rights violations after ordering the shocking of a non-violent defendant was sentenced to a year of probation and anger management classes. The incident took place in 2014 when Robert Nalley, then sitting judge, asked the defendant during voir dire if he had any questions for the prospective jury.

The defendant refused to answer the judge's questions and instead attempted to read from a prepared statement. The judge grew impatient and signaled for the deputy to remotely send 50,000 volts through the defendant's body.

At Wit's End

The incident took place on July 23rd, 2014 when Nalley presided over the jury selection for Devon King, who was representing himself pro se. At the time, the defendant was wearing an ankle stun-cuff that could be activated remotely to deliver a powerful electrical shock to the wearer.

A few minutes into the proceeding, Judge Nalley asked King if he had any questions for the potential jurors. King ignored the judge and attempted to read from his prepared statement and stood there calmly. He did not appear to pose a threat to anyone, nor did he attempt to flee. King tried to speak over the judge, much to Nalley's chagrin. He then ordered the sheriff to shock King.


Federal prosecutors played both audio and video of the incident during a federal sentencing hearing. Audio recordings captured King screaming out loud three times because of the shock. The electrical current was left on for approximately five seconds.

US Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said that "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."

After the incident, King claimed that he was traumatized emotionally, disoriented and fearful, and that he was unable to defend himself to the best of his ability.

Ex-Judge Nalley's Long Service

Judge Nalley served on the bench of the Circuit Court of Charles County, Maryland from 1988 to 2014. About a month after the event became public, the Maryland Court of Appeals banned Nalley from the bench.

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