- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006



Judge denies wrongdoing

A Prince George’s County judge accused of misconduct involving making disparaging statements about women seeking protective orders — including a woman set on fire by her estranged husband — is denying any wrongdoing.

“It has been very difficult to sit silent through seven months of character assassination and vilification in the media stirring controversy,” District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo said in a 14-page document his attorney filed this week.

The filing comes in response to charges that investigative counsel for the state Commission on Judicial Disabilities leveled in April against Judge Palumbo.

The complaint accuses him of violating judicial standards in the case of Yvette Cade, 32, when he dismissed her request in September that a protective order be kept in place against Roger B. Hargrave.

Hargrave, 34, doused Mrs. Cade with gasoline three weeks later and set her on fire. A Prince George’s jury in April convicted Hargrave of attempted first-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced today.

The commission’s 11-page filing said the judge engaged in a pattern of misconduct when considering protective orders in domestic violence cases. Judge Palumbo, who was appointed to the bench in 2001, is accused of disparaging three women seeking protective orders by likening them to buses that come along every 10 minutes.

His written response said his statement was intended as a “homespun and colloquial metaphor.”

Judge Palumbo, 67, has been restricted to administrative duties since Oct. 26.


Three teens arrested in weekend carjackings

Prince George’s County police arrested three teenagers from Southeast yesterday and charged them in three carjackings Sunday.

Anthony Cannon, 16, of the 3900 block of Q Street; Terrelle Bailey, also 16, of the 1500 block of Fort David Place; and Kevin Womack, 18, of the 600 block of Morton Street were charged as adults.

Officers responded to the first report of a carjacking at Van Dusen Road and Virginia Manor Drive in Beltsville. When police arrived, several victims described men in a white Jeep Liberty with handguns. The men took a truck loaded with dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles and fled. The truck crashed at Rhode Island and Howard avenues, injuring two persons. The carjackers fled on foot.

The second carjacking ended in a chain-reaction accident involving 13 vehicles on New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, sending 10 persons to the hospital. The crash shut down New Hampshire Avenue for several hours. The carjacker fled on foot and police found an automatic handgun in the green Dodge Dakota.

The third carjacked vehicle has not been recovered. It is a 2004 gray Chevy Silverado with Maryland license plate 71N712.


Teenager charged in cab driver’s death

A 15-year-old boy was charged yesterday in the fatal shooting of a cab driver.

The cab driver was killed Wednesday in a robbery at about 3:30 p.m. in the Dutch Village townhouse community.

Neighbors called 911 after a Jimmy’s Cab crashed into a utility pole in the 7000 block of McClean Boulevard.

Officers found the driver slumped over, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

The driver died a short time later at Good Samaritan Hospital. Police said he had been shot at least once in the upper body, but it was not clear if he was shot from inside the cab.

Police said the driver probably had been shot before he spun the vehicle and struck the driver’s side of a parked sport utility vehicle, then crossed the street and crashed into the pole.


Shad counts lower in fish lifts at dam

Scientists are puzzled by lower shad counts this year in the fish lifts at Conowingo Dam.

Researchers have recorded 55,000 American shad passing through the lifts to spawn upstream. Last year, more that 70,000 shad passed through, and in 2001 more than 190,000 passed through.

Erin Malone, a spokeswoman for Exelon Corp., a power company that runs the dam, said it is a mystery why fewer shad were found this year.

“Conditions were ideal. We had a really good spring with warm temperatures, low river flow and not much rain,” Miss Malone told the Cecil Whig.

Miss Malone said scientists have several theories for the lower numbers. One is that shad are a favorite food of the striped bass, or rockfish.

“The other theory is sometimes shad will travel with river herring. In New England, the river herring industry may be catching them along with the herring,” she said.


Trolley service for $1 links two cities

Trolley service between Easton and St. Michaels will begin June 19, offering trips for just $1.

The small bus will be provided by Delmarva Community Transit, which already provides bus service between Easton and St. Michaels during the week. The trolley will be aimed at tourists and people who work in St. Michaels.

Tentative times for the buses to stop in St. Michaels are from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The St. Michaels trolley will be in place through the end of December.



Student charged in classmate’s death

A young man accused of killing a classmate was arraigned yesterday on charges of capital murder and three other felony counts.

Louis Shawn Lindenfeld, 18, was formally charged in Henrico County Circuit Court in the May 22 slaying of Allen “Chip” Ellis. Both were Midlothian High School students.

Mr. Lindenfeld’s court appearance came a day after his indictment on the four charges, including robbery and two firearm counts.

Mr. Ellis, 18, was seen May 22 after dropping off some DVDs at the Midlothian library. Authorities think Mr. Lindenfeld carjacked Mr. Ellis and killed him sometime after the two left the library in Mr. Ellis’ car.

Mr. Ellis’ body was found May 25 in the trunk of his car in woods off a dead-end road. He had been shot in the head, investigators said.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s proceeding, Judge L.A. Harris Jr. scheduled Mr. Lindenfeld’s next hearing for June 9. The hearing will be to review attorney status and set a trial date.


Women lead the class at Washington and Lee

Washington and Lee University’s graduation yesterday marked the first time since it began admitting undergraduate women two decades ago that more than half the graduates were women.

The class of 2006 included 211 women and 207 men.

While the law school admitted women in 1972, the first undergraduate women were admitted in 1985.

For a $60 fee, graduates received real sheepskin diplomas: paper-thin hides upon which the names and images of Robert E. Lee and George Washington are displayed.

“It’s one of those strange W&L; traditions,” said Sara Duckworth of Roanoke. She earned a degree in sociology from the private liberal arts school.

The diplomas need to be stretched and mounted to prevent curling and kept under special glass that blocks out ultraviolet light, according to information on the university’s Web site.

Paper diplomas are free.



Bay forecast upbeat on low-oxygen days

The Chesapeake Bay could have fewer low-oxygen zones this summer, but there’s a high likelihood of a dangerous algae bloom in the Potomac River, according to a water quality forecast released yesterday by the Chesapeake Bay Program.

The program, a federal-state partnership charged with improving Bay health, reported a mixed forecast for water quality this summer.

Based on water flow in the winter and spring, scientists predicted about 2.3 percent of the Bay would be anoxic this summer, which means there would be too little oxygen in the water for most species to survive. Last summer, about 4.5 percent of the Bay was considered anoxic, sometimes called a “dead zone” because little can survive there.

Even though there will be fewer low-oxygen zones in the Bay this summer than in 2005, the level will be about normal for the past 20 years, since scientists have been tracking oxygen levels, the report said.

The forecast also called for a high likelihood of a harmful algae bloom this summer in the Potomac, lasting more than a month.

Algae blooms are caused when nitrogen or other pollutants run into the water, causing an explosion of algae growth, which in turn can choke out other organisms.

Peter Tango, an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources who specializes in algae blooms, said the forecast was based on average rainfall last winter and spring. He said the blooms won’t be as bad as scientists have seen in the past several decades, but they won’t be absent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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