Judiciary

Former jurist's conduct 'reprehensible,' US Judicial Conference tells House Judiciary Committee

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The actions of Mark Fuller—a former Alabama U.S. district court judge who recently resigned following a domestic violence arrest—demonstrated “reprehensible conduct,” the Judicial Conference of the United States wrote in a letter recently sent to the House Judiciary Committee.

According to Associated Press, the letter states that there’s evidence Fuller abused his now-former wife on several occasions, and that he made false statements to a committee reviewing his behavior.

Fuller announced his resignation in May after being placed on leave from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and it was effective Aug. 1. The Judicial Conference letter notes his resignation, and says that had Fuller not resigned, his conduct may have warranted impeachment. The federal court policymaking body wrote that given the severity of Fuller’s behavior and its finding of perjury, it decided it needed to give Congress the information. The House Judiciary Committee decided not to release the full report, telling the AP that it contained sensitive victim information.

“This certification may also serve as a public censure of Judge Fuller’s reprehensible conduct, which has no doubt brought disrepute to the Judiciary and cannot constitute the ‘good behavior’ required of a federal judge,” James C. Duff, Judicial Conference Secretary wrote in the letter, dated Sept. 11.

Fuller was arrested for misdemeanor battery in 2014, after police were called to an Atlanta Ritz-Carlton hotel room where he and his former wife, Kelli Fuller, were staying. According to the AP, Kelli Fuller stated that her husband became violent after she accused him of cheating on her.

Prosecutors later dismissed the charge, and Fuller’s record was expunged after he participated in six months of weekly group-counseling sessions.

However, the Judicial Conference believes from its own investigation that there was substantial evidence Mark Fuller physically abused his wife at least eight times, including the Ritz-Carlton incident, the AP reports.

The letter notes that Mark Fuller denied under oath that he ever hit, punched or kicked his wife. The Judicial Conference also made reference to an unrelated incident in 2010, where Fuller allegedly made a false statement to a chief judge which caused disruptions and a loss of public confidence with the court, but they did not elaborate on the details of that incident.

Fuller’s attorney Barry Ragsdale declined to comment to the AP about the committee’s letter.

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