Monday, June 1, 2015

Order released today by Eleventh Circuit shows that Fuller was staring down the barrel at impeachment

Mark Fuller
A judicial panel today issued an order saying the conduct of Alabama federal judge Mark Fuller might "constitute one or more grounds for impeachment."

That means Fuller was facing serious consequences when he announced his resignation last Friday, in the wake of his arrest last summer on domestic-abuse charges. From an article by Alyson Palmer at the Atlanta-based Daily Report:

When U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama tendered his resignation on Friday, his fellow judges apparently were preparing to send his case to a national judicial body for consideration of possible impeachment by Congress.

On Monday the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an order saying the conduct of Fuller, who was arrested on domestic abuse allegations in Atlanta last summer, "might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment." The order referred the matter to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which has the ability to send a judicial discipline matter to the House of Representatives for impeachment.

U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat acted as chief judge in the Fuller matter. Ironically, Tjoflat also served on a three-judge panel that denied initial appeals in the Don Siegelman case. Fuller is best known for overseeing the Siegelman trial, which has come to be seen by many legal experts as perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in U.S. history.

Tjoflat also served on a panel that corruptly denied an appeal of my unlawful termination at the University of Alabama's Birmingham campus (UAB). Evidence shows I was fired from my job of 20 years for writing accurately on this blog about Fuller's unlawful actions in the Siegelman case. UAB's own IT investigator showed that I never wrote my blog on work time or equipment, and the university's own grievance committee found I should not have been terminated. In fact, no evidence was presented at the grievance hearing that I should have been disciplined at all. But then UAB president Carol Garrison went against her committee and upheld my termination anyway.

During my lawsuit, U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. violated black-letter law by granting UA summary judgment even though no discovery ever was conducted in the case. In fact, a discovery schedule was not even set. Despite that clear violation of procedure and case law, Tjoflat's panel used a "Do Not Publish" opinion to deny my appeal.

In other words, Gerald Tjoflat now is acting like a tough guy against Mark Fuller. In fact, Tjoflat is a dubious character who has acted for years as Fuller's enabler.

Is Tjoflat now trying to quietly clean up some of the stink that he helped create? Sure looks that way from here.

What lies ahead for Fuller? Alyson Palmer provides some insight on that:

Friday's letter from Fuller to President Barack Obama, saying the judge would resign effective Aug. 1, would appear to moot the question of impeachment as a practical matter. But Monday's order signifies that judicial leaders within the Eleventh Circuit were willing to hand down the most significant disciplinary consequence within their arsenal.

Gerald B. Tjoflat
The Judicial Council consists of all of the Eleventh Circuit's active members, minus its most junior member and Chief Judge Ed Carnes, who hasn't been participating in the Fuller matter, as well as the nine chief judges of the district courts within the Eleventh Circuit. The opinion noted that the chief judge of the Middle District of Alabama, where Fuller sits, did not participate either. Judge Gerald Tjoflat of the Eleventh Circuit acted as chief judge on the matter in Carnes' stead, and Tjoflat's signature appears on Monday's order.

An August police report said Fuller's then-wife accused him of assaulting her at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta. He later agreed to a domestic violence intervention program and alcohol and substance abuse assessment to resolve the resulting misdemeanor battery case against him. Fuller's Atlanta criminal defense lawyer has said that Fuller made no admission of guilt and that, upon completion of the program, the case against him would be dismissed and his arrest record expunged.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby need to answer for this. They supported Fuller's nomination big time.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they had major dirt on Marky Mark, and he chose the coward's way out.

RobT said...

This is a coverup by the judiciary, plain and simple. No way they want Congress or any "outsiders' taking a close look at what Fuller has been up to.

legalschnauzer said...

I think you nailed it, RobT. This has gone from Operation "Get Siegelman" to Operation "Protect the Judiciary." They are in full cover-up mode. There needs to be a house cleaning at the Eleventh Circuit, and Bill Pryor, with his ties to gay porn and his role as corrupt "gatekeeper," needs to be among the first to go.

RStevens43 said...

And they need to undo what Fuller did to Seigleman and all the people in AL and DC that helped Fuller make sure Seigleman was prosecuted and made sure he remains in jail need to be exposed as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey Schnauzer, what do you think about yesterday's news that UAB is getting its football program back?

legalschnauzer said...

I was glad to see it, on the surface, because a university of that size in Birmingham, AL, should have a D-1 football program. UAB recruited for players primarily in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida, so those are important scholarship opportunities for kids who largely get bypassed by the SEC.

I say "on the surface" because I heard a lot of "ifs, ands, and buts" in Ray Watts' talk, and I don't think either he or key members of his administration can be trusted. The way I heard it, if fund-raising goals are slow in being reached, the plug could be pulled again, maybe 4-5 years down the road.

With that hanging out there, how is Bill Clark going to attract and retain top-notch assistant coaches? How is the coaching staff going to recruit and keep top-notch players? If I'm Bill Clark, I have major concerns about moving forward under Ray Watts' leadership--and the "leadership" of a Board of Trustees that probably still is out to kill or handicap the program.

All of the qualifiers in Watts' talk make me think that perhaps only the "method of execution" has been changed. The original plan was a quick death by chopping off the head. The new plan might be more gradual, by slowing choking the program to death.

Aside from all the dark possibilities going forward, UAB fans should take time to celebrate. They stood up, led by the writings of UGA Prof. John Knox, and truly embarrassed both the board and the UAB administration. Their voices were heard, and they didn't go away quietly. Good for them.

I hope the public remembers this: There is no question UAB can have a successful football program at D-1. Watson Brown has already proven that. Before Gene Bartow retired as athletics director, and administrative dysfunction took over, Brown built a really nice team. The Blazers of the Darrell Hackney, Roddy White, Steel Shield era would have been a real threat to beat Alabama or Auburn, on the right day. During that general time frame, UAB did beat LSU and Mississippi State from the SEC.

The Blazers also went nose to nose in the same conference with very good teams from other metro areas--schools like TCU, Louisville, Cincinnati, East Carolina, South Florida, SMU, Tulsa, Central Florida, Memphis, and more. UAB has been left behind during conference realignment in a watered-down C-USA--and that happened probably because of weak leadership on the Birmingham campus.

To get back where UAB really belongs, it needs to get the kind of forward-thinking leadership that will seek membership in a league like the American Athletic Conference (AAC), where many of the teams noted above now reside. As a university, UAB has very little in common with the schools it now occupies space with in C-USA. The Blazers need to get their competitive legs back under them and move toward the AAC. When UAB has real leaders, it is an extremely attractive partner with other "brand name" metro schools. Blazer sports teams got left behind only because school "leaders" shrugged their shoulders and let it happen--all the while the Tuscaloosa-driven board of trustees also was dragging down the Blazers.

A note of caution: The rebuilding process for UAB football is likely to be difficult. Some 1-11 and 2-10 records likely will be involved, and if fans give up during those tough times, it will be an excuse for another round of "pull the plug on the Blazers."

If UAB fans are serious about having football and a comprehensive student experience the sport represents, they need to recognize that the struggle is just beginning.

Unknown said...

Fuller failed me. This is a warning to all the other judges in the 11th Circuit. Do not fail me. The price of failure is high in my Empire.