Judge Kent Finally Resigns

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that convicted District Court Judge Samuel Kent finally resigned from his position as a United States District Court Judge effective at the end of this month. Kent was convicted by guilty plea of obstructing an investigation into his conduct. At the core of Kent’s criminal conduct was his predatory sexual abuse of two women who worked for the court.

Kent had earlier offered to resign in June 2010, but hearing that, the House quickly voted to impeach him. Kent had continued to collect his salary of $174,000 per year even though he began serving his 33 month sentence earlier this month. Kent could only be removed by his own resignation, or impeachment. Angered by Kent's arrogance in submitting his resignation for a year down the road, the Senate was moving forward with impeachment.

The Chronicle reports that Kent handed a one sentence resignation letter to Senate officials who showed up at his federal prison last week.

So ends a case that demonstrated all too well that the judiciary is unable to police itself. However, the case also demonstrates that the courage and suffering of two citizens can be redeemed with a measure of justice in our society.

Judge Denies Motions to Dismiss in Miss. Judicial Corruption Case

Judge Davidson of the Northern District of Mississippi denied Circuit Judge Bobby Delaughter’s Motions to Dismiss the judicial bribery and mail fraud counts in the Dickie Scruggs related judicial bribery prosecution. Count One charges a conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 666, the federal bribery statute. The defense alleged that Count One failed to charge an offense because the bait dangled in front of Judge Delaughter, consideration for a federal judgeship, is not a thing of value. Giving short shrift to the motion to dismiss as more akin to a civil motion for summary judgment, Judge Davidson, opines that the government is entitled to put their proof on at trial.

As to the mail fraud counts, the defense contended that they failed because an ex parte communication does not equal a federal crime. Judge Davidson, states that, in fact, the indictment, “alleges that DeLaughter afforded the Scruggs’ legal team secret access to the court, along with the court’s proposed opinions, and therefore, received an unfair advantage in the Wilson v. Scruggs litigation.” Of course, this just simply makes sense, and the defense’s attempt to minimize this conduct will blow up on them if they take this case to trial. And, quite frankly, it is almost inconceivable that any fair minded judge could argue with a straight face that unfettered, ex parte access to the judge, in what is supposed to be an adversary system is not a violation of honest services mail fraud. Couch it as they may, Judge Delaughter’s counsel are straining at gnats in attemmpting to put the broad brush of innocence on this conduct.