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Trials & Litigation

US House Gears Up for Possible Impeachment of Federal Judge

Posted Sep 17, 2008 4:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Getting into gear to consider possible impeachment proceedings against a federal judge, the House Judiciary Committee formed a task force today to consider the case against U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous.

"The move begins a congressional inquiry into allegations against Porteous that include bankruptcy fraud and perjury," explains the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The judge allegedly misrepresented his financial position in his bankruptcy case, concealed assets and gambling debts.

Porteous is also accused of having taken money from lawyers who appeared in cases before him, while he was working in a previous position as a state judge.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, Porteous, who sits in New Orleans, was reprimanded last week by an appellate judicial council. It determined that he should not hear any cases for the next two years, but Porteous continues to collect his judicial salary of nearly $170,000.

His lawyer says the appellate judicial council's report greatly exagerates his shortcomings, and insists that the judge has given fair treatment to all parties in cases he hears.

If the case proceeds, "it would be the first impeachment of a federal judge since 1989, when the House impeached Alcee L. Hastings, now a Democratic congressman from Florida, and Walter Nixon of Mississippi," reports the Associated Press.

If the House decides to impeach Porteous, his case would then be tried in the Senate, the AP article notes.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Judiciary Committee Leaders Call for Investigation of Judge"

ABAJournal.com: "U.S. Judge Reveals Details of Discipline Case, Seeks Release of Secret Dissent"

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