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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Prostitutes, Strippers, and "Judges Gone Wild"

Albert S. "Pat" Murdoch

Judges can't seem to stay off police blotters these days. They are the ones who are supposed to uphold the law in our courtrooms?

The latest example comes from New Mexico, where a state judge  faces charges that he sexually assaulted a prostitute. District Judge Albert S. “Pat” Murdoch, 59, was arrested last week and charged with criminal sexual penetration and intimidation of a witness. He was released on a $50,000 bond overnight.

It's extremely unusual for an exalted member of the judiciary to face such charges, right? Well, not exactly. U.S. District Judge Jack Camp, of Atlanta, was arrested last October on drug and weapons charges related to his relationship with a stripper. The "honorable" Judge Camp was relieved of his law license and sentenced to 30 days (30 whole days!) in federal prison.

In fact, Georgia seems to be Ground Zero for "judges gone wild." We'll take a closer look at the Peach State in a moment. But first, what in the heck is going on out in New Mexico? Will Murdoch, another fine public servant, get off with a similar slap on his berobed wrist--much like the one Camp received? Well, it's too early to say. But Murdoch seems to be quite the rounder. From a report by MSNBC:

A criminal complaint said the prostitute told police that she had visited Murdoch approximately eight times in his home after he answered an online personals ad and exchanged money for sexual acts.

She said that the first time she met him, he said he wanted to perform oral sex on her but she refused. But Murdoch nonetheless “forced himself on her to perform the oral sex,” according to the complaint.

That might not be the most disturbing aspect of Murdoch's behavior. Consider this:

She later videotaped another encounter with the judge where he again performed oral sex on her against her will, it said.

It said she did so after she began posing hypothetical situations regarding a woman making allegations against him and he responded that ". . . he would use the police and his connections to take care of the situation," according to the complaint.

Not only did "his honor" abuse a woman, he planned to abuse the justice system, as well. He probably would have gotten away with it if his victim had not produced her own version of "sex, lies, and videotape."

What about the wacky judges of Georgia? They have been so bad that The Wall Street Journal spotlighted them last August. Consider some of the extracurricular activities of judges in Georgia:

* One sent a message over Facebook to a criminal defendant, saying he’d give her behind-the-scenes advice on her case.

* One was caught having sex in a parked car with the public defender assigned to his courtroom.

* Another inappropriately touched a prosecutor and investigator after they sat in his lap posing for a photo.

How bad has it gotten in Georgia?

The Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia agency that investigates judges, has given its investigator Richard Hyde, a former Atlanta police detective, the authority to confront judges with investigative findings and to negotiate a quick resignation, according to the AJC.

Hyde “is traveling around the state collecting scalps,” one Georgia lawyer said. Hyde declined comment.

Georgia judge Frank Mills III said judges in the state have noticed the recent resignations. “I think we’re all bewildered by it,” he said. “But most of these cases are not similar, so it’s hard to say there’s any trend.”

If you aren't a member of the legal fraternity, it's not hard to see a trend. A frightening number of judges are slime balls and criminals--on and off the bench. The problem hardly is limited to Georgia and a few isolated cases in other states. It's a nationwide issue, one that affects both state and federal courts.

As someone who has witnessed the corrupt official acts of multiple state and federal judges in Alabama, I am not at all surprised by these stories out of New Mexico and Georgia. And the kind of judicial arrogance that Murdoch displayed, thinking he could game the system to cover up his crimes, rings loud and true to me. My guess is that Murdoch made an untold number of unlawful rulings over the years against parties before him--and got away with it time after time. It took a prostitute, with the presence of mind to obtain irrefutable evidence, to bring him down for his outside-the-courtroom behavior.

Judge Murdoch, of course, is innocent until proven guilty. But he appears to have stepped in doo-doo that will not easily wash away.

Is there a lesson in this for the public? If judges are allowed to commit brazenly unlawful acts on the bench--and no one holds them accountable--we should not be surprised when they prove to be slime balls after the robes come off.

Here is a report about the Murdoch case from Albuquerque television station KOB4:


11 comments:

jeffrey spruill said...

I know why Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson could not have a confirmation hearing before the Senate:

''He thought I was well on my way to busting my knees,'' said Judge Wilkinson, 60. ''He warned me of impending doom.''

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9800E5DC153CF932A15754C0A9639C8B63

Ishmael said...

Just wanted to add an update on the Pat Murdoch case. KOB-TV is reporting this morning that Murdoch has negotiated a deal with the NM State Office of Judicial Performance to retire from the bench effective Friday. Additionally, He has agreed to sign statements stating that he will neither seek nor accept any NEW positions as a judge or arbitrator in New Mexico. This way he keeps his pension.

Ishmael said...

Forgot the link:

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2215213.shtml?cat=504

jeffrey spruill said...

Wilkinson talked about his July interview with Bush in the New York Times, undermining his candidacy amongst the Bush inner circle.
***
That's absolute nonsense because:

''Well, I told him I ran three and a half miles a day,'' Judge Wilkinson recalled in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "

That would be Wednesday-July20,2005- AFTER Bush chose John Roberts!

legalschnauzer said...

Ishmael:

Very interesting. Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

I notice you only pick on Republican judges. In fact, I notice that all of your articles are slanted in favor of Democrats and against Republicans. Remember next that next time you start talking about "bias" in journalism, since it seems liberal news outlets like the Daily Kos are using your blog as fodder for their reporting.

legalschnauzer said...

Actually, this post doesn't say a word about the affiliation of these judges. I'm pretty sure Camp is a GOP nominee, but I don't know about the other judges' party affiliation. You apparently don't read this blog very closely because I have written critically about a number of Democratic judges, especially Robert Vance Jr. of Jefferson County, AL.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. Schnauzer:

Rush Limbaugh is going to accuse your blog as being a "drive by."

Freudian projection?

James Greek said...

Roger,

My man, I am not surprised about Georgia judges acting corrupt. In fact, I don't doubt that for one minute. My mom got screwed in Georgia courts. My mom got arrested for stabbing her alcoholic boyfriend with a knife and it led to a lengthy, and often heated battle in court. Also, my mom had her wages garnished by a sleazy landlord and the judge sided with the landlord!

jeffrey spruill said...

DOJ should indict Julian Assange

In a powerful concurring opinion, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III was even more direct; his reasoning is fully applicable to Assange's current release of confidential ...

****

Careful what you wish for!

James Greek said...

I checked the court records and guess who the judge was in my mom's case of aggravated assault when she stabbed her alcoholic boyfriend? Yup, Judge Nix. Who would later be noted for touching the prosecutor and investigator inappropraiately.