That statement assumes Fuller had integrity in the first place while the public record shows he's been lacking in that department for a long time--and al.com has ignored it.
We already see signs that any attempt to prosecute Fuller for misdemeanor battery will be a whitewash. In fact, a report out yesterday, indicates Fuller probably will avoid prosecution altogether. Public calls for the judge to resign are likely to go unheard by the judicial establishment, which appears determined to protect one of its own.
(A personal note: I'm one of numerous journalists or legal experts across the country--Scott Horton, Andrew Kreig, Dana Jill Simpson, Grant Woods, Bennett L. Gershman, and Peter B. Collins are among the others--who have questioned Fuller's integrity on the bench for years. In fact, tape-recorded evidence proves that I was cheated out of my job at a public university, the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB], because of my reporting about Fuller's unethical handling of the Don Siegelman/Richard Scrushy criminal case. We now have al.com admitting Fuller lacks integrity, essentially confirming my reporting from six-plus years ago [which was conducted on my own time, away from work, and I was protected as a state employee by the First Amendment.] I can't help but notice the irony of al.com, which largely championed Fuller's handling of the Siegelman/Scrushy at the time, now admitting the judge lacks integrity. I'm sure the Siegelman and Scrushy families notice the irony, too. We'll have more in a future post about why the Fuller story hits so close to home for me.)
For now, let's look at al.com's editorial as a classic example of how the modern mainstream media fails the public. Fuller's unethical behavior has been evident for years, but reporters and editors at al.com refused to pay attention. (So did U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, who supported Fuller's nomination to the federal bench by George W. Bush.) Here is an excellent overview, published yesterday, of the many signs that Fuller has lacked integrity for years--and not just in his personal life.
Where to begin with evidence of Fuller's unethical acts, which predate his appointment to the federal bench in 2002? Here are just a couple of examples:
* A Missouri attorney named Paul Benton Weeks provided a lengthy and detailed affidavit showing that Fuller, as a district attorney in south Alabama, tried to defraud a state pension fund in order to provide extra cash for a favored employee.
* As a part owner in Colorado-based Doss Aviation, Fuller benefited financially from U.S. government contracts. In any criminal case before him as a judge, the U.S. government is a party. The conflict presented by Doss should be evident to any rational being, but Fuller refused multiple requests in the Siegelman/Scrushy case to recuse himself. Scott Horton, of Harper's, wrote the definitive article on this subject, titled "The Pork Barrel World of Judge Mark Fuller."
As for Fuller's dubious handling of the Siegelman/Scrushy case, here is a sampling of our posts on that subject:
* Fuller allowed the prosecution to get away with writing a vague indictment that hid the fact the alleged unlawful transaction between Scrushy and Siegelman happened almost a full year outside the five-year statute of limitations. When evidence finally proved that the charges could not lawfully go forward, defense lawyers properly asserted the limitations defense, and Fuller denied it. There never should have been a trial because, by law, the charges were outdated and time barred.
* Fuller allowed a runaway jury to get away with all kinds of transgressions, including improper e-mail communications between jurors and communications between a juror and a member of the defense team.
* Fuller gave unlawful jury instructions, failing to instruct the jury on the critical "explicit agreement" framework required by controlling law, a U.S. Supreme Court case styled McCormick v. United States, 500 U.S. 257 (1991).
That last bit of legal "handiwork" meant Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted of a "crime that doesn't exist." Scrushy has served his sentence, but Siegelman remains in a federal prison at Oakdale, Louisiana.
We could go on, but you get the idea: By law, the Siegelman/Scrushy trial should have been over, with all charges dropped, almost before it got started. Instead, thanks to Fuller's unlawful actions, two citizens who were not guilty went to federal prison.
That should terrify all caring citizens. But al.com has just now decided Judge Fuller has a problem with integrity? Perceptive observers knew that at least seven years ago. The big question is this: Did Mark Fuller have any integrity to begin with, even when he started his judicial career?