To defend the judge, it is to "read by what they mean" and to "interpret the spirit" that has created MANY problems in US law code for over 200 years. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is just one example. How does one read/interpret:
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be
Literalists would say that citizens should own firearms for the sole purpose of a militia. Spiritists would say that this gives everyone the right to bear arms for any reason.
Without an exact and succinct law, both law enforcement officials and those seeking to violate the law could act to circumvent the original intent of the lawwriters. Therefore, it is imperative for lawmakers to act with prejudice when molding words into law and insure that there "intent" is clear. However, it is often easier to purposely write civil and criminal code in a vague manner as to avoid the responsibility of taking an action or actions that may offend various groups. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword... A legislative body may avoid undue resentment by writing vague code, but it then fails to accomplish its task by creating an enforcible and solid law.
In this case, the judge acted in the best manner possible. When faced with such a hastily-written law, it is better to err on the side of caution than to risk overstepping the constitutional boundaries of the judicial system and making law. Judges exist to interpret the law, not to write it, and if the legislature fails to construct a decent code, then the judge must make decisions based on precedent rulings and applicable laws.
If you do not approve of the judge's ruling, write your congressman and senators for they and their committee consuls are at fault for write poor law.
Ignorantia juris neminem excusat.