Law, not judge, is at fault

April 02, 2010

Judge G. Darrell Russell created a firestorm of protest when he married a defendant in an assault case to the victim ("Judge defends his actions in marrying couple in assault case," March 31). Under Maryland law, a victim cannot be compelled to to testify if married to the defendant.

The storm has been directed at the judge for doing what his "Catholic" conscience had guided. The protest should have been directed at the legislature for continuing to permit the "spousal" exception to remain on the books.

As a state delegate, I tried for six years to change the law to force testimony but was defeated by arguments about the sanctity of marriage. The judge legitimized a relationship in a particular case, but the legislature continues to legitimize domestic violence on a broad scale.

Theodore Levin, Pikesville

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