Maryland judge fires back at criticism

WASHINGTON: A Maryland judge, under fire from the National Organization for Women and other groups, has decided to speak up rather than step down.

WASHINGTON: A Maryland judge, under fire from the National Organization for Women and other groups, has decided to speak up rather than step down.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Durke Thompson has been criticized for statements and cases involving females. In a widely reported episode two years ago, he said, "It takes two to tango

in reference to a case involving an 11-year-old girl who was molested by men she met on the internet.

He later apologized for that comment, saying it had been taken out of context.

Last month, Thompson overturned a jury conviction and ordered a new trial for a man accused of second-degree rape. That ruling prompted the Montgomery County State's Attorney to issue a news release entitled "'Two to tango' judge dances again."

Responding to the charges by his critics, Thompson and his supporters launched a PR counterattack - "an unusual step among judges, who rarely make comments beyond the courtroom,

stated The Washington Post.

"If you don't fight back, you will pay the price,

he told a reporter for the paper. "I'm not going to let them stomp me into the ground. If they think otherwise, they've got another thing coming,

he added.

Backing Thompson is his wife Lea, a reporter for Dateline NBC. She told the media that her husband has three daughters, a female dog, and "has been surrounded by women all his life."

As part of the counterattack by his backers, some female lawyers participated in a news conference backing the judge, and more than 50 women signed a petition to the judicial commission on his behalf. The court's other judges have not joined the battle.

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