The Judicial Ethics Forum (JEF)

An Academic Discussion of Judicial Ethics, Discipline & Disqualification

A Judge, An Exotic Dancer, Some Hard Drugs, and a U.S. Attorney

Posted by kswisher on Thursday, December, 2, 2010

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.      

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One Response to “A Judge, An Exotic Dancer, Some Hard Drugs, and a U.S. Attorney”

  1. swilliams said

    STATEMENT REGARDING DECEMBER 2, 2010 LETTER FROM
    U.S. ATTORNEY SALLY QUILLIAN YATES
    CONCERNING FORMER U.S. JUDGE JACK CAMP

    For over 20 years Jack Camp served as a Federal judge and presided over hundreds of cases with fair, unbiased attention to the law. Fairness was the cornerstone of his career on the bench, and his record remains clear in this regard.
    Jack Camp has fully cooperated with Federal authorities regarding the unfortunate circumstances of his life that led to his recent retirement from the bench, and his decision to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges and one count of aiding and abetting another’s drug possession.
    Mr. Camp has fully cooperated with the government’s request that he be examined and tested for drug use. That test was negative. Mr. Camp was also tested by a private professional clinic; that test also returned negative for presence of controlled substances.
    Jack Camp will defend any decision he has rendered where a defendant may assert any sort of impairment or bias. While Mr. Camp understands the government must take appropriate steps to ensure our judicial system is free of bias, none occurred in Judge Camp’s courtroom. Again, Jack Camp has assisted the government in this review to the fullest degree possible.
    Mr. Camp is taking responsibility for his actions, and continues to cooperate with authorities with regard to the wrongful nature of his behavior.
    Mr. Camp agrees with Ms. Yates’ affirmation that our system of justice depends upon a defendants’ right to a fair, impartial, and an unimpaired jurist to administer justice. He agrees with the decision by the U.S. Attorney to take a broad view in this matter, and welcomes the opportunity to further cooperate with the government, and resolve this unfortunate chapter in his life.

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