Frederick Wood of Maryland may have avoided jail time today by marrying the alleged victim.
Back in November 2009, Wood was involved in a domestic altercation with his then girlfriend. The police report noted several injuries to the girlfriend. On March 10, Wood appeared in court on charges of second-degree assault. However, when Wood's case was called, Wood's attorney informed the judge of the parties' intention to marry. This would allow the girlfriend and future Mrs. Wood to invoke the spousal privilege and thus, prevent her from testifying against Wood.
To make a long story short, Judge Darrell Russell, Jr., District Court Judge for Baltimore County called for a short recess which allowed Wood and his girlfriend to file for a marriage license. The Judge then proceeded to marry them in chambers. Without the victim's testimony, Mr. Wood was acquitted of the charges.
Judge Russell has since been placed on desk duty and the subject of criticism by domestic advocates nationwide. Before you condemn Judge Russell, who has been on the bench for twenty years, you might want to hear his side of the story and the reasoning behind his actions. In the end, you may agree with Judge Russell's conclusion, "Mr. Wood, I found you not guilty so I can't sentence you as a defendant in any crimes, but earlier today, I sentenced you to life -- married to her."