"A judge puts on a black robe, that doesn't change who they are," Hanson said. "He says what he thinks. It's not boring in Judge Dudley's courtroom."
On the weeks Dudley presides over criminal court, the sound of muffled laughter from the lawyers and defendants huddled on the hardwood benches is far from uncommon.
It's here that Dudley, a Circuit Court judge since June 1989 and a District Court judge for eight months before that, might tell a defendant that probation before judgment is like kissing your sister ("It's unimportant to anybody"). Here he's also likely to take on more weighty issues, such as why a probation officer took so long to report a violation.
No one is immune from his observations, court watchers say.
Dudley found himself in hot water a few years ago over comments he made in two sexual-assault cases.
After one, in which Dudley suggested a rape might have been avoided if the victim had exercised "reasonable judgment with respect to her previous beating" by the defendant, the Women's Law Center of Maryland filed a complaint with a state committee set up to address gender bias issues in the court system.
At the time, Dudley said he was making an observation, not assessing blame. Dudley said nothing ever came of the complaint.
Sentencing, Dudley said last week, is the only chance a judge gets to weigh in on the ills he sees around him - to give a "therapeutic message."
"I can't sit in a cocoon. Isn't anyone else upset with thugs, guns and drugs and what they've cost us in the last 30 years?" he said. "There are certain people who are responsible for that, and they have to be held responsible.
"The funny thing is, more people will be offended by my comments than offended by his conduct, and that's a sad comment."