I resisted posting on federal Judge Jack Camp’s (N.D. Ga.) problems when they came to public light. To be sure, the scandalous facts were magnetic (see here), but his alleged conduct was so plainly improper — and frankly dumb — that a post felt too obvious and too much like shooting someone in a deathbed. But thanks to the Georgia U.S. Attorney, there is now something worth noting here. In a relatively quick timeframe and proactive manner, the U.S. Attorney (Sally Yates) has announced that any defendant who was sentenced under Judge Camp — or at least the bad version of Judge Camp, who was using drugs and carrying weapons for a proven five-month period — can request an unopposed resentencing (unopposed in obtaining a resentencing, that is, not in a request for probation). She noted that the federal investigation had uncovered accusations of Judge Camp’s impairment (via “marijuana, powder cocaine, Xanax, Roxicontin, and other unknown prescription painkillers” and “some may have been taken while Camp was also consuming alcohol”) and racial bias (in that Judge Camp suggested to an informant that he had sentenced an African-American male more harshly and a caucasian female more leniently owing to race). Again, as a matter of judicial ethics, such allegations, if true, are easily categorized as unethical. What is laudable, however, is the U.S. Attorney’s proactive attempt to remedy even the appearance of incompetence and bias, rather than engage in protracted litigation about what, in fact, Judge Camp had on his mind (e.g., drugs or racism) at the time of the sentencings. The U.S. Attorney prefaced her remarks with, and was apparently pointed in the right direction by, her “one responsibility — to seek justice.” The local news has her full statement here.
Archive for December 2nd, 2010
Posted by kswisher on Thursday, December, 2, 2010
Posted by monroefreedman on Thursday, December, 2, 2010
I highly recommend Keith Swisher’s article, Pro-Prosecution Judges: “Tough on Crime,” Soft on Strategy, Ripe for Disqualification. It’s thoroughly researched and powerfully written. 52 Arizona L. Rev. 317 (2010).