Number of Ethics Probes of Federal Judges Appears Unprecedented
Posted Oct 13, 2008 11:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Five federal judges are facing ethics investigations for acts ranging from maintaining a racy website to taking cash from lawyers who appear before them.
The number of investigations appears unprecedented under the modern ethics review system for federal judges, the Houston Chronicle reports. Said Pittsburgh law school professor Arthur Hellman, “As far as I know, we've never had anything like this.''
The publication lists the judge under investigation as:
• U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent, indicted on charges he sexually abused a former case manager. The Chronicle story says Kent has been accused of improperly touching the employee and trying to make her perform oral sex. He has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set for Jan. 26.
• U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous Jr., reprimanded based on allegations he committed perjury and took money from lawyers who appeared before him. The House Judiciary Committee has formed a task force to consider impeachment.
• U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham, accused of visiting a topless dance club and using an escort service.
• 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, accused of posting racy photos to his website. Kozinski says he didn’t know the site could be accessed by the public.
• U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, investigated for an alleged “pattern and practice” of failing to provide reasons for legal decisions.
Updated at 5 p.m. Oct. 21 to correctly name Edward Nottingham.