Pr. George's Judge Arrested in Restroom
He Is Accused of Exposure, Accosting Arundel Officer
January 16, 1998
1150 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20071
By Philip P. Pan
Washington Post Staff Writer
A prominent Prince George's County judge was arrested Wednesday night in one of a
series of controversial Anne Arundel police stings designed to stamp out public lewdness.
He allegedly exposed himself and touched an undercover officer in a restroom at the
Circuit Court Judge Larnzell Martin Jr., 47, who was named to the bench in 1988 after
serving as county attorney under then-County Executive Parris N. Glendening, was arrested
in a restroom that police say was targeted as a source of repeated complaints of lewd
behavior by men.
An Anne Arundel police spokesman, Lt. Jeff Kelly, said Martin accosted the undercover
officer after he entered the men's restroom at the Hecht's department store about 8:30
Martin declined to comment through his attorney, William C. Brennan. "All the
facts have not been brought to light," Brennan said.
According to the arrest papers, the detective first observed Martin staring at him in
the restroom and then exited, with the judge following. The two men made eye contact
outside, and the detective returned to the restroom, again with the judge following, the
The document says Martin touched the detective's leg and made a statement, but it
doesn't say whether the officer objected before Martin proceeded to expose himself and
grab the detective's crotch.
Martin was charged in the latest in a series of undercover stings that Anne Arundel
County police have conducted in the last year targeting purported pickup spots that
include other public restrooms, Queenstown Park in Severn and the area around 20/20
Bookstore, an adult book and video store in Annapolis.
More than 50 men have been arrested and charged with indecent exposure or soliciting a
prostitute, including an elementary school principal and a spokesman for the secretary of
Martin, who is secretary of the Maryland Circuit Judges Association, is one of a
generation of young African American leaders who took county jobs in the 1970s and then
rose to leadership positions. Glendening appointed him county attorney in 1986, making him
Maryland's first black county attorney.
"The allegations are surprising and unsettling, but at this point, they're just
allegations," said Garland Stillwell, a former president of the J. Franklin Bourne
Association, a professional organization of black lawyers in Prince George's and
"Judge Martin is a friend and a colleague, and I still have the utmost respect for
him. He's someone you can trust, he has a brilliant intellect and he's been a staunch
supporter of a lot of young attorneys in the community."
The Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the Anne
Arundel police stings and is considering using them to challenge the state's anti-sodomy
law, which prohibits gay couples -- but not straight couples -- from having oral sex in
Kelly said police have conducted several stings at the Hecht's restroom in the last
year, resulting in more than a dozen arrests. Martin, who is single, was the only person
arrested during Wednesday's operation, which involved four officers and lasted from 8 p.m.
to 9 p.m., Kelly said.
Kelly said the detectives did not know Martin was a judge when they arrested him and
that Martin did not resist.
Police charged him with indecent exposure, fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree
assault, all misdemeanors punishable together by up to 14 years and a $3,500 fine. A
commissioner released him on personal recognizance.
Prince George's Chief Judge William B. Missouri said he placed Martin on temporary
administrative leave yesterday "to give him time to get himself together." But
he said he expects Martin to return to work within a few weeks and to be assigned to
chamber duties until the charges against him are resolved.
If Martin is convicted, a state commission on judicial disabilities could remove him
from the bench.