The man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a Montgomery County judge agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Rickley Senning, who was in a relationship with Judge Audrey Creighton and living at her Dickerson, Md., home, admitted to being drunk last May and forcing the judge to drive at a high rate of speed down winding county roads.
Senning agreed to plead guilty to one count of false imprisonment, one count of second-degree assault and one count of DWI.
But when it came time to sentence Senning, there was no mention of the victim, no apology, and in an odd twist, Judge Creighton declined to give a victim impact statement.
Senning was two weeks away from trial when he decided to take the state's offer for a plea deal.
The state agreed to drop the most serious charge of kidnapping.
Last May, Senning was drunk when he forced Judge Creighton into her BMW and forced her to drive at a high rate of speed. It all ended at a Harris Teeter store where Creighton was able to get away and call 911.
Dispatcher: "Do you need an ambulance?"
Dispatcher: "And he pulled your hair and did he hit you?"
Dispatcher: "He pulled your hair?"
Dispatcher: "And this is a friend of yours?"
Dispatcher: "Okay, a boyfriend or?"
Creighton: "Not really. He's very drunk."
Senning continued down the road in the judge's vehicle where he crashed into a Mercedes, injuring a teenage boy.
The 25-year-old then fled to Florida where he was later arrested.
Senning was given a sentence of ten years, with all but three years suspended.
"The judge was involved in a relationship that was clearly inappropriate that led to the incident for which Mr. Senning is now spending three years in jail," said William Wallace, Senning's attorney. "She lied to the police after the incident, she obstructed justice and we are hoping the judicial disabilities and appropriate prosecutors will take appropriate steps."
The commission that investigates judges in the state of Maryland has a policy not to comment or confirm an investigation is underway.
For their part, the state's attorney's office in Prince George's County, which prosecuted Senning, contradicted the defense and said Judge Creighton was truthful with investigators.
As for the victim impact statement, which is common in every courtroom and which the judge declined to give, the state's attorney's office explained it this way.
"It was something that she felt that a lot had been made of this case as to who the victim was and her position within the court and with the community," said John Erzen, spokesperson for the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office. "What she really wanted this to be about is the crime that took place, the fact this was a domestic violence situation, this is someone she was in a relationship with and she just wanted to keep focus on the situation at hand and the crime that took place."
In a hearing on the case held last week, defense attorneys questioned the judge's character and made some accusations about her behavior that will now come to an end with Senning's agreement to plead guilty.
Judge Creighton was reelected last November and is now back on the bench.