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Friday, October 14, 2005

Judges in the news: Richard A. Palumbo

Richard A. Palumbo
Associate Judge, District 5, Prince George's County
Appointed November 14, 2001
Maryland state delegate (D-22), 1979-1982, 1983-2001
Maryland state senator (D-22), 1982-1983
Biography (Maryland State Archives)
Palumbo & Associates LLC (retired)

(Updated 4 May 2006)

Judge Palumbo charged with misconduct, 4 May 2006
(Includes links to stories on the misconduct charges).

Woman Who Was Set on Fire Vows to Speak for Other Victims.
Post, 19 Feb 2006 (Allison Klein).

"Bad judgment"
Sun, December 27, 2005 (Editorial)
Maryland operates a judicial institute that trains new judges and offers continuing education classes for veteran jurists. But Prince George's County District Judge Richard A. Palumbo must have skipped out on the class on judicial demeanor when he joined the bench in 2001. His insensitivity to a woman involved in a domestic dispute in September doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. New complaints suggest he needs more than an attitude check - or a remedial class. [More]
"Domestic violence victims get more help" [More]
Gazette, December 15, 2005 (by Tiesha Higgins, Staff Writer)
. . . The House of Ruth Domestic Violence Legal Clinic found 11 cases where Judge Richard A. Palumbo allegedly made insensitive comments or did not allow an attorney to speak on behalf of a victim who did not speak English.

‘‘For Judge Palumbo to make it more difficult for those litigants to use the court system really flies in the face of the court’s efforts to provide access to all litigants, and particularly to litigants who have a hard time using the courts anyway,” said Dorothy Lennig, director of the House of Ruth Legal Clinic. Battered women, immigrants and people with disabilities are among those who have difficulty navigating the court system, she added.

Palumbo’s record came under scrutiny in part because of the Cade case. Three weeks after he dismissed a protective order for Yvette Cade, the woman’s estranged husband allegedly showed up at her job, threw gasoline on her and set her on fire. Cade suffered third-degree burns on the upper half of her body and has undergone 13 surgeries since the Oct. 10 incident.

Palumbo later said the dismissal order was a clerical error, but the chief administrative judge for the District Court denied it was a mistake. Palumbo has been suspended from the bench. . . .
[Full story]
"Woman Tells of Md. Judge Denying Her an Interpreter"
Post, December 15, 2005 (by Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post Staff Writer)

"Group accuses judge of discrimination"
Examiner, December 14, 2005 (AP)

"Embattled Md. Judge Accused Of Bias; Palumbo Insulted Women, Group Says"
Post, December 13, 2005 (by Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post Staff Writer)
A Prince George's judge who has been temporarily removed from the bench amid controversy over a domestic violence case and other issues has exhibited "clear bias" against non-English-speaking women seeking protective orders, even prohibiting one woman from using a translator except with his explicit permission, according to a petition filed yesterday with the Maryland commission that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. [Full story]

"Group Says Palumbo Shows Bias in Cases"
wjla.com, December 13, 2005 (AP)

"Character in a Courtroom Drama; For Embattled Judge Richard Palumbo, Big Personality a Two-Edged Sword"
Post, November 17, 2005 (by Allison Klein and Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post Staff Writers)

"A Record of Controversy; Some controversies involving Prince George's County District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo"
Post, November 17, 2005

Letter: "Judge's Record Speaks for Itself"
Post, November 10, 2005 (by Barbara Benfield, Beltsville)

Letter: "Living It Up"
Post, November 10, 2005 (by Robert H. Haslinger)

"The good ole' boys!"
Time to spill the beans, October 27, 2005
". . . It's time to remove the good ole' boys from the bench!!!"

"Husband Allegedly Lit Wife on Fire After Order of Protection Dismissed;
Yvette Cade Told Judge She Wanted Immediate Divorce"
abcnews.go.com, November 1, 2005(As reported on Good Morning America)

"Issues Mount For Md. Judge; Questions Arise On Residency, Other Abuse Cases"
Post, November 1, 2005 (by Allison Klein and Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writers)
Prince George's District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo, temporarily removed from the bench amid controversy over a protective order ruling and two traffic incidents, is facing new questions about where he lives and how he handles domestic violence cases. . . .
"Commentary - Judicial oversight system needs to be benched"
Examiner, November 1, 2005 (Commentary by Henry Jaffe)

"Maryland: Judge Causes Wreck, Goes Free; A Maryland judge who has been let off from tickets in the past has caused now caused a wreck and goes free again."
thenewspaper.com. October 28, 2005

"Report: Judge Not Cited For Causing Crash"
nbc4.com, October 28, 2005

"Report: Embattled Judge Wasn't Cited for Accident He Caused"
wjla.com, October 28, 2005 (AP)

"Md. Judge Got No Citation for Wreck He Caused"
Post, October 28, 2005 (by Ruben Castaneda Washington Post Staff Writer)
Maryland state troopers said in a report two months ago that Prince George's County District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo, the focus of controversy in recent days for a decision in a domestic violence case and a voided traffic ticket, caused a two-vehicle accident in Charles County. But they did not issue a citation to him.
"Bias against battered women continues, with disastrous results"
Gazette, October 28, 2005 (by Leigh Goodmark, Family Law Clinic, University of Baltimore School of Law)
Yvette Cade wasn’t really afraid of her husband — she just wanted a stronger divorce case. At least that’s what Judge Richard A. Palumbo of the Prince George’s County District Court seemed to think. . . .
"Palumbo transcripts raises 'serious questions'; Judge removed from bench for now"
Examiner, October 28, 2006 (by Anna Bailey, Examiner Staff Writer)
For at least three months, House of Ruth Maryland has been investigating the conduct of the Prince George's County District Court judge who dismissed a restraining order against a man who then alledgedly set his estranged wife on fire last month, The Examiner has learned.

"Our attorneys were appearing before Judge [Richard] Palumbo. In a couple of our experiences, our attorneys ... were really concerned with some of the comments Judge Palumbo was making," said Carole Alexander, House of Ruth Maryland's executive director.

The Baltimore domestic violence center has reviewed 20 transcripts of hearings before Palumbo since August. [More]
"Judge In Burned Woman Case Reassigned; Palumbo given administrative duties"
wjz.com, October 27, 2005

Editorial: "Another judge, another screw up"
Examiner, October 27, 2005
Hard to believe that court officials in Prince George's County still refuse to protect domestic violence victims while letting killers go free, but that's exactly what happened - again. [. . .]And way too many mistakes made lately by well-paid judges who should be held to a much higher professional standard than their clerks.
"Women’s groups demand accountability from courts; Judge’s dismissal of protective order draws more fire"
Gazette, October 27, 2005 by Margie Hyslop, Staff Writer

"Judge Reassigned After Domestic Violence Case"
thewbalchannel.com, October 27, 2005

"Court Officials Reassign Criticized Judge; District Court Issues Statement"
nbc4.com, October 27, 2005

"Judge Palumbo Given Administrative Duties"
wjla.com, October 27, 2005 (AP)

"Judge in Domestic Violence Case Reassigned "
wtopnews.com, October 27, 2005 (AP)

"Prince George's Judge Is Taken Off Bench"
Post, October 27, 2005
A Prince George's County judge who has been the focus of controversy for a decision in a recent domestic violence case and a voided traffic ticket was temporarily removed from the bench and reassigned to administrative duties yesterday by the state's chief judge of the District Court.
District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo, 67, has faced criticism for dismissing a protective order against a man who three weeks later allegedly set his wife on fire. [More]

Women’s groups demand accountability from courts; Judge’s dismissal of protective order draws more fire
Gazette, October 27, 2005
Leaders of two Maryland women’s organizations say they are outraged by the dismissive treatment of women in some courtrooms — an issue brought tragically into focus recently when it was revealed that a Prince George’s County judge dismissed a protection order against a husband who later set his wife on fire. [More]
"Domestic Violence Worker Concerned About Judge's Courtroom Manners"
wusatv9.com, October 26, 2005
"We are profoundly concerned," says Carole Alexander.
The Executive Director of House of Ruth Maryland says many of Judge Palumbo's court recordings troubled her, in the first, a strangled woman could only whisper. [More]
"Trooper Tried to Void Ticket for Judge in Burning Case"
wtopnews.com, October 26, 2005

"Report: Judge Had Traffic Ticket Voided; Palumbo Criticized For Dismissing Protective Order"
nbc4.com, October 26, 2006

"Judge Had Traffic Ticket Voided"
wjla.com, October 26, 2005 (AP)

"Md. Trooper Improperly Voided Judge's Ticket"
Post, October 26, 2005
A Maryland State Police trooper was "counseled" this year after he deviated from official procedure by voiding a speeding ticket he'd written for Richard A. Palumbo, the Prince George's County judge facing criticism for dismissing a protective order against a man who three weeks later allegedly set his wife on fire. . . .
"Cade's Family Seeks Judge's Removal"
wjla.com, October 21, 2005 (AP)

"Family of Burned Woman Asks Md. to Remove Judge"
Post, October 21, 3005

"Complaint filed against Palumbo; Burned victim's family wants judge off bench"
Examiner, October 21, 2005

"Abuse must be treated in home and community"
Times, October 21, 2005
Column by Adrienne Washington.

"Judge’s action outrages women’s groups"
Gazette, October 21, 2005
Discusses violence against women in Prince George's County and refers specifically to Judges Richard A. Palumbo and Herman C. Dawson.

Editorial: "More Than a Clerical Error"
Post, October 20, 2005
. . . The problem with Judge Palumbo's conduct, in short, was not that someone checked the wrong box on a court form. It was that the judge, faced with a woman who claimed -- rightly, as it turned out -- to be highly vulnerable to physical assault, could not take the time to figure out what was going on in the case. He treated her as a scammer trying to game the system for advantage in a divorce proceeding. Ms. Cade is grievously wounded; that might have happened even had the order, now belatedly restored, been in place. But at least a court wouldn't have made her more vulnerable.
"Cade case leads many to question the system"
Gazette, October 20, 3005

"Judge keeps quiet on protective order case"
Examiner, October 20, 2005
Prince George's District Administrative Judge Thurman H. Rhodes has clammed up after reportedly telling the Washington Post that there was no clerical mistake made when District Judge Richard A. Palumbo lifted a restraining order against a man who was later accused of setting his wife on fire. [More]
"Judge Clearly Dismissed Protective Order in Burn Victim's Case"
wtopnews.com, October 19, 2005 (WTOP & AP)

"Chief Judge Disputes Assertion of Error"
wjla.com, October 19, 2005 (AP)
Quotes Chief Administrative Judge Thurman H. Rhodes

"Pr. George's Judge Disputes Claim Of Clerical Error in Protective Order"
Post, October 19, 2005
Also quotes Chief Administrative Judge Thurman H. Rhodes and mentions Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn and Judge Vincent J. Femia.

"Protective Order's Dismissal Called Mistake"
Post, October 18, 2005
Also quotes Judge Vincent J. Femia.

"Dismissal of Protective Order Blamed on Clerical Error"
wjla.com, October 18, 2005 (AP)
thewbalchannel.com, October 18, 2005 (AP)

"Judge blames mix-up"
Examiner, October 17, 2005.

"Deadly Justice"
Post editorial, October 15, 2005

"After woman burned, judge barred from domestic violence cases"
Gazette, October 14, 2005

"Judge Pulled From Domestic Violence Cases"
thewbalchannel.com, October 14, 2005 (AP)

"Duties Change For Prince George's County Judge;
Judge Pulled From Domestic Violence Cases"
nbc4.com, October 14, 2005

"'Woman on Fire' Judge Removed from Domestic Violence Cases"
wtopnews.com, October 14, 2005 (WTOP & AP)

Wife's plea for help rebuffed by PG judge
Times, October 14, 2005 (AP)

"Burning Victim Had Told Judge She Was Scared"
wjla.com, October 13, 2005 (AP)

"Report: Judge Dismissed Protective Order At Husband's Request; State's Attorney's Office Is Reviewing Case"
nbc4.com, October 13, 2005

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  1. They need to take alot of these bias, unethical and corrupt judges off the bench and send them packing. Maryland Courts should be a shame of theirselves. They do not care about the victims and some of those judges need training in particular cases before they make decisions that will impact someones life. Judges only render verdicts on their own opinion and not the interpretation of the law. Judges never want to hear the victims story. If the victim was white, then it would be a different story and the judge will be thrown off the bench, but because the victim is african american, they are not going to do nothing to these judges. The Governor need to cut judges salaries, because they are not doing nothing to help the victims nor citizens of Maryland for the common good. Cutting judges salary will also help the budget in the State of Maryland.

  2. what a piece of shit! i am thoroughly disgusted with richard palumbo, and he deserves a life sentence for cruelty to human beings.

  3. He's a jerk and the system shoudl be changed

  4. wendy, be of good courage, dlg