Baltimore Judge Marries Accused Abuser to Victim During Trial to Avoid Testimony

Maryland law states that a spouse is not legally required to testify against the other spouse. District Public Defender Thelma Triplin declined to comment on Heller's actions and Heller could also not be reached at his home or by e-mail.

Russell referred all comments to Plemmer's office.

Ryan, who was not in court that day but has been brief by Assistant State's Attorney Christina Cuomo, said the defense lawyer at one point asked Cuomo to put the case in a "stet docket," which essentially renders a case inactive, but not decided.

Cuomo, he said, refused.

"She was adamant about prosecuting the case," he said.

After Heller made his request, the judge offered to solve the defense attorney's problem.

"He told the defense attorney that there was no need to postpone the case," Ryan said. "That they could go to Towson, get a marriage license and come back and he would marry them that day."

Judge Marries Alleged Victim, Puts Her on Stand Minutes Later

Wood and his betrothed were excused for the 25 minute drive to the Towson court to get a marriage license and were married back in Russell's chambers a short time later.

Once the trial reconvened, his new bride was immediately put on the witness stand.

"She invokes her marital privilege so there's no evidence in the case. And the judge finds him not guilty," Ryan said.

Whether anyone files a complaint against Russell remains to be seen. A spokesman for the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities said complaints against any judge are confidential until that judge is publicly charged.

There are no public actions on record for Russell.

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