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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

The Federal Judges Association: Hypocrisy in Action

By: Donald V. Watkins

© Copyrighted and Published on February 21, 2020

Federal judges are the only public officials in America who enjoy (a) lifetime appointments to their jobs under Article III of the U.S. Constitution and (b) the power under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to subject citizens to a life of "slavery" or "involuntary servitude" as a punishment for crimes. Not even the President of the United States has this enormous power.

Federal judges appointed under Article III of the Constitution can be removed from office only through an impeachment process. In exchange for granting federal judges this awesome status and power, the Founders expected them to be fair, independent, and apolitical guardians of justice. In reality, most federal judges today are little more than political operatives who team up with federal prosecutors to "rig" the criminal justice system in favor of prosecutors. In many instances, federal judges have morphed into embarrassing judicial "fluffers" for rogue prosecutors.

On Tuesday, the Federal Judges Association interjected itself into the high-profile Roger Stone case. Founded in 1982, the 1,100-member association called an emergency meeting to address "concerns" about the intervention by Attorney general William Barr and President Donald Trump in the Roger Stone case.

Yesterday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama-appointee, sentenced Stone to three years and four months in prison after he was convicted on charges of obstruction, lying to Congress, and witness tampering. Members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecution team had originally asked Judge Jackson to impose a sentence on Roger Stone of seven to nine years. Trump and Barr blasted this recommended sentence as "excessive."

Hypocrisy in Action

The Federal Judges Association claims the organization supports "a fair, impartial, and independent judiciary." The Association's actions demonstrate blatant hypocrisy in this regard.

Where was the Association's so-called "concern" about the fair administration of justice when Mark E. Fuller, the Chief U.S. District Court Judge in Montgomery, Alabama severely beat his second wife, Kelli, in a hotel room in Atlanta in 2015? Fuller, who was a serial wife-beater, was subsequently arrested by Atlanta police on a misdemeanor charge of spousal battery. After Fuller entered a pretrial diversion program, his case was quietly dismissed.

When Judge Fuller was interviewed months later by a federal judicial inquiry commission about his vicious and bloody beating of Kelli, he lied about the incident in an effort to obstruct the investigation and shape its outcome. Even though Fuller's lies to the inquiry commission constituted perjury, he was never charged with this crime by federal prosecutors.

Likewise, Fuller was never charged with obstructing the investigation by telling his lies.

Additionally, Fuller was never charged with witness tampering even though there was evidence that he coached courthouse personnel on how to answer investigators' questions.

Instead, Judge Fuller was allowed to resign with full pension benefits. He thereafter faded into the sunset, without fear of any criminal prosecution.

When Roger Stone's case is compared to the favorable treatment federal prosecutors lavished upon Judge Fuller, the double standard of justice is glaring. Yet, the Federal Judges Association never voiced any "concern" about the favorable disposition of the Fuller case. After all, he was one of them.

The Association chose to leap into action in Stone's case only when four rogue federal prosecutors, whom President Trump said are "corrupt" and accused of committing "real crimes" in the case, were reigned-in on their sentencing recommendation by Mr. Barr. Judge Jackson tacitly defended the conduct of these prosecutors even though it was not necessary to do so.

Unfortunately, the Federal Judges Association will not be in any position, morally, legally or otherwise, to lecture President Trump or anyone else on the fair administration of justice until the Association rids itself of its own "in-your-face" judicial hypocrisy.

PHOTO: Cynthia M. Rufe, President of the Federal Judges Association

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