Retired judge who posted nude photos on swingers website shouldn't be disciplined, his lawyer argues
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Should a Kansas judge be disciplined after his retirement for posting nude pictures of himself on a swingers website while he was still on the bench? The Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the question last week.
The Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended a public censure for Russell County Magistrate Judge Marty Clark in a May 4 decision. His retirement was effective a few days before that.
The Topeka Capital-Journal, the Kansas City Star and the Associated Press have coverage of the oral arguments.
Clark’s lawyer, Chris Joseph, argued that there should be no discipline for sending nude photographs on a private channel, according to Kansas City Star.
“I don’t think you look at morality as a basis for discipline … unless there is a connection to the job,” Joseph said.
Joseph said there wasn’t clear and convincing evidence that Clark sent messages while he was at work, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
He also argued that removal and suspension are irrelevant now that Clark is no longer a judge. Clark can’t practice law because he isn’t a lawyer, Joseph said.
The judicial commission decision said Clark crossed the line when he decided to take a picture of his penis and post it on a social media website known as Club Foreplay, or C4P. Clark violated judicial canons requiring a judge to act with integrity, an action that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine integrity and the judicial office, the commission said.
According to commission findings of fact, Clark and his wife met another couple at the Lake of the Ozarks in 2019, and they conversed at the bar. After the meeting, Clark corresponded with the wife from the other couple on the C4P website, which describes itself as a dating website for swingers. Clark’s account did not use his real name.
Clark sent “sexually revealing” photographs to the wife from the other couple that were not available to other C4P subscribers or the general public. He also asked the other woman to send sexually revealing photos of herself.
The other woman’s husband filed a complaint against Clark last year.
Justice Melissa Standridge said online photos can affect the perception of the judiciary, according to the Kansas City Star.
“If you post something it’s out there,” Standridge said. “It’s the old adage of don’t write anything down you wouldn’t want on the front page of the Wichita Eagle.”
Clark was named Outstanding Magistrate Judge of 2020 by the Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association, according to his retirement announcement. He also served on the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission and the judicial branch’s Judges Assistance Committee at the time of his retirement.