Last edited: January 02, 2005


Pr. George's Judge Arrested in Restroom

He Is Accused of Exposure, Accosting Arundel Officer

Washington Post, 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 Annapolis Mall.

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 p.m.

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 affidavit says.

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 the Navy.

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 Montgomery counties.

"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 private.

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.

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