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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Erring on the Side of Hidden Harm: The Granting of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

- By David Helnick

On September 19, 2005, Yvette Cade went before Judge Richard A. Palumbo seeking an extension of a domestic violence restraining order against her husband, Roger Hargrave. Palumbo, whether from confusion, clerical error, or a genuine belief that the extension was unwarranted, dismissed the restraining order. One month later, Hargrave walked into the cell phone store where Cade worked, doused her with gasoline, and set her on fire.

Two weeks after the attack, Palumbo was removed from all domestic violence cases and placed on administrative duty. On July 20, 2006, Cade was interviewed by Nancy Grace on CNN's Headline Prime. Grace, emblematic of the media reaction, introduced the interview with:


Tonight, a primetime exclusive. She went before a trial judge and begged for help, begged for protection. He refused to hear her pleas for help. And then her nightmare came true. Her estranged husband came to her office and set her on fire. But against all odds, she lived, and tonight she wants justice. And PS, to the judge that sentenced her to being burned alive, Maryland judge Richard Palumbo, you are in contempt!

Adding to this, one of Grace's other guests, Congressman Ted Poe, commented: "Well, Nancy, you know I believe that judges need to be accountable for their actions just like we make criminals accountable. And this judge, whether it's a mistake or incompetence on his part, he needs to leave the bench." A judicial misconduct hearing scheduled for the end of August was cancelled when Palumbo............
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