Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Plans to impeach Mark Fuller remind us that the federal judiciary in Alabama remains an ugly cesspool

Judge Mark Fuller
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) announced yesterday that her plans to push for the impeachment of federal judge Mark Fuller are moving forward.

The news, coming one day after gay couples were allowed to legally marry in Alabama, serves as a grim reminder that the state's federal bench has not been fully engulfed with integrity and reason.

Callie V. Granade, a district judge in Mobile, probably gave the federal judiciary in the South an image boost by issuing an enlightened (and apparently legally sound) ruling that paved the way for gay marriage in Alabama, In fact, Granade is due to hear oral arguments tomorrow that could open gay marriage in counties that, so far, have not recognized it.

Granade, a George W. Bush appointee (of all things), has received applause in progressive circles for her handling of the gay-marriage issue. But Fuller, another Bush appointee, serves as her counterpoint--an unmistakable sign that ugliness and dishonesty continue to reside on the U.S. bench in Alabama.

Fuller once was best known as the trial judge who butchered the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman and his codefendant, ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. But Fuller might wind up best known as the judge who beat up his wife last summer. That is what led to the specter of impeachment, as discussed in Rep. Sewell's statement yesterday:

“In November, I requested that the Judiciary Committee initiate an impeachment investigation and hearing into Judge Mark Fuller’s arrest. Only Congress can impeach a federal judge, and I have repeatedly pressed for my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to take the steps necessary to remove Judge Fuller from the bench.

“I am pleased that the House Judiciary Committee has requested additional funding in anticipation of potential judicial impeachment proceedings. I hoped that Judge Fuller would have spared himself, his family, and our nation the expense of this lengthy process by immediately resigning but he has resisted my repeated calls to step down.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues to uphold the integrity of the Court and to initiate impeachment proceedings.”

That should add a dose of reality to potentially heightened public perceptions about federal judges in Alabama.

Terri Sewell
Is Fuller an otherwise sterling jurist who just happened to get in a foul mood one evening at an Atlanta hotel room? Not hardly. We've written dozens of posts about Fuller's unlawful actions in the Siegelman case. Most disturbingly, we've shown that Siegelman and Scrushy could not even lawfully stand trial because the statute of limitations had run on the charges against them--and that issue properly was raised at both the trial and appellate levels.

How bad is Fuller? Former Reagan-administration official Paul Craig Roberts summed it up in an article last September:

Republican US district court judge Mark Fuller was arrested in Atlanta this month for beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel. The judge, in whose honor courts must rise, was charged with battery and taken to the Fulton County jail at 2:30AM Sunday morning August 10. If you look at the mug shot of Mark Fuller, he doesn’t inspire confidence. Fuller was a bitter enemy of Siegelman and should have recused himself from Siegelman’s trial, but ethical behavior required more integrity than Fuller has.

Too many Southerners, Roberts argues, are ignorant of their own history, going back to the Civil War:

It is extremely ironic that the formerly solid Democratic South, plundered, looted, and raped by Republican armies, votes Republican. If anything shows the insouciance of a people, the South’s Republican vote is the best demonstration. The South votes for a party that destroyed the South and its culture. There is no greater evidence of a people totally ignorant of, or indifferent to, their history than the Southern people who vote Republican.

Is Fuller the only conservative rogue on Alabama's federal bench, in an era now marked by the foresight of Callie Granade and her gay-marriage ruling?

Not by a long shot.


Anonymous said...

I hope Terri Sewell can pull this off.

Anonymous said...

Fuller should be impeached for hitting his wife, but he also should be impeached for sending innocent people to prison in the Siegelman case. Not sure why one is more important the other.

legalschnauzer said...

You make an interesting point, @1:00. As I understand current law, a judge can be held accountable for his non-judicial actions (hitting his wife) but not for his judicial actions (sending innocent people to prison).

I don't agree with that, but I think that is where current law stands.

Anonymous said...

The Alabama Attorney General fails in his most important duty

Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama may be forgiven for his order to the probate judges of his state directing them to disregard the SSM order of an Alabama federal judge. I say this because a less decorous person might rightfully label him nuts. I am far more bothered by the behavior of Alabama’s Attorney General.

According to the Washington Post, the Alabama Attorney General, Mr. Luther Strange, told his state’s probate judges that he cannot advise them what to do regarding the issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples and suggested they seek help elsewhere. That was an abdication of his most essential duty–to insure that Alabama follows the rule of law.

That the Attorney General does not like the ruling of the federal judge or that the Alabama Attorney General must deal with Chief Justice Moore is no excuse. A federal judge has said that Alabama must allow SSM and that declaration in our federal system is binding. That’s it–game over, at least for now. It is not debatable.

The Alabama Attorney General should tell the people of Alabama, and especially the probate judges, that they have an obligation to follow the rule of law. After all, the rule of law only matters when you don’t like the results.

Anonymous said...

RT: How do you think the attitude of the US government to whistleblowers has changed? There’s been a number of high profile cases, including yours, over the last few years.

JK: I think that Americans are more aware of the role of whistleblowers, whereas as recently as three to four years ago, nobody gave whistleblowers a second thought. I have to say, really, since I went to prison, that I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from average Americans across the country, and I think that just a few years ago that wouldn’t have been the case.

RT: Finally, after all that you’ve gone through, would you blow the whistle again if you were in a position to do so?

JK: I would. I would do it again. As terrible as it’s been, as difficult as it’s been, I have a family that is rock solid in its support of me, and a family that knows right from wrong, Torture is wrong, and I’m proud to have played a role in the end of torture as US government policy, and I would do it all again.

American "government" grew a very big machine to keep all the "people" marching in the consumerism of globalization.

How to grow a monster and call the horror show USA.

Grow, grow, grow and never really stop the unsustainable barbarians.

Don't really educate, use the Bad Puppy toxic shame to get the Bill Pryor coo coo birds to wave the big bird for all to fall down and worship, the Roving Pigs that wear lipstick and fly, too.

RS, get in touch with CIA Whistleblower, all USA Whilstleblowers need to join the Book Club: GOV ROGUE US AMERICAN BARBARIANS, KKK, and all the obvious American faux "justices", NOW EVERYBODY KNOWS

Anonymous said...

when our country has been made into a boundary-less place, not a living environment that the information tells the people the "home" is ~

what is that system called?

exactly how to define the/a system which governs the daily lives of every living energy in the usa as though the time isn't at all transparent!

the systems are basically one, the octopus blinds the people by the poisons sprayed into every possible life reality ...

legal schnauzer the brothers named koch in kansas have a mission and your experience they want to know about,

a criminal justice reform is the name of the project which the Koch Foundation can be reached about, too, on-line,

good luck with your teaching at the wherever the grant pays you to get your genius heard

Anonymous said...

So I suppose Roberts would rather we southerners vote for a party that enslaved a race, imposed Jim Crow laws for most of a century, and spawned the KKK? Roberts needs to re-read his American History 101.

I hope Fuller either resigns or is impeached and removed; but I won't vote for Democrats that suppress dissenting opinions, destroy our economy through excessive debt spending, lie about the true unemployment numbers, and refuse to secure our border and our sovereignty for our posterity.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 2:55- this is a truly predictable post from the political right. Although the parties' names have remained the same, their positions on issues noted in the first part of your post have largely "flipped", particularly in the South- The remnants of the "Dixiecrats" are now clearly represented by the far right of the Republican Party. You're supporting a name instead of underlying values.

Regarding the second paragraph- go back three plus decades- both parties participate in expanding debt, neither has chosen to secure borders, and both have their own version of statistics as it suits them.

Finally, Fuller is a bad dude, but to discount Roberts' as ignorant of History is wholly inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

right on about the left and the right, the republicans and the democrats, what is the difference?

not a dime's worth.

whatever former president said the not a dime's worth of difference in the parties was accurate then and the story is the same today.

the money runs the country and the class that was attracted to professions -- such as, but not limited to -- legal, medicine, the PhD, and any of the "Ivy League" indoctrination to be the government mule.

er excuse the mule - the government school at harvard called JFK.

got lots of brains that pretended to be high intellect when the hook was money.

didn't bother to know the money was criminal fraud because the criminals got to defraud all the people and call the acts, just.

now the class is seen for the hypocritical system that has been destroying the usa, since the money was only paper and the bigger countries wanted to see real "money" for "real". land and properties were stolen in the usa, the indians were simply the model for all the modern apartheid and genocide.

there is a place called the united states, once the continent was called AMERIKKA, or some wording about the place of absolute beauty.

there were the empire builders that arrived from the places where boats were built to go around the world.

Dutch colonized the African and the North American Continent.

those that made up a language that gets to rape and pillage and plunder.

US Constitution now almost worthless as a piece of goddamn paper (republican GWB "Jr").

label the hat change, colors and slogans and false patriotism.

lots of favorite fools best served the cold dish of a ghetto and then hell, too: America.