Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dishonored

You know that momentary rush, when you think, "Yay, the good guys won out." And two seconds later you think, "Dammit, why are we still having to fight this hard in 2012?" The happy feeling passes, and you're just as pissed off as before. It's one of those days.

Today the ignominious case of Judge Bruce Lamdin, of Baltimore County, comes to an end. As publicized by wbaltv.com, on September 6, a woman came before the Judge seeking a routine protective order against her husband. The (heartbreaking) audio posted by WashingtonPost.com of the proceedings includes details of the assault which took place in front of the witness's minor children: "He then threw me down on the floor and stomped me in the ribs so hard that I peed my pants." In this situation, a person with an ounce of human decency would, (a) grant the order, or (b) berate the victim for putting herself in harm's way because of her own greed and laziness.

Yeah, I wish it was (a). But no.

Lamdin's first line of questioning concerns the wife's own culpability in staying in an abusive situation. He was unconvinced by the witness's wish to save her children from experiencing life in a shelter, as she herself had done as a child.

"It confounds me that people tell me they are scared for their life, and then they stay in a situation where they can remove themselves and go to a shelter."

The Judge went on to suggest that she had no rights to the house acquired during their marriage because it had not been titled in her name, going so far to interrogate her as to why her credit history would bar her being placed on the title.

He followed by blaming the victim for her own greed, "If your concern was really the safety of your children and yourself, you'd already be out of there. But as always, based on your testimony, it comes back to the almighty dollar."

While he did end up granting the temporary protective order, Judge Lamdin did his best to deprive the woman of any sense of safety or comfort she might otherwise derive.
Don't walk out of this courtroom and think you're protected. 'Cause people have been shot, knifed, run down, killed, maimed and there's orders in place, but, ma'am, this is nothing more than a piece of paper. You can hold a piece of paper right up in front of this gentleman, and he could shoot you right through it.

So then what happened? Well, the Women's Law Center filed a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities. And rather than face a likely removal from the bench, Judge Lamdin will not be seeking reappointment when his term is up next month. Okay, yes, the system worked.

But, why are we still having to fight these fights? Why are domestic violence victims somehow treated like prostitutes who took money in exchange for allowing themselves to be beaten?

I have no jokes.

Just my $5 for the Women's Law Center of Maryland. It's not enough, but sadly, I suspect I'll be donating to them again.

Thanks to my pal Marcie at BaltimoreCrime.blogspot.com, who turned me on to this story and pissed me off enough to start this blog.

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