On Tuesday night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, at the end of a segment on the NFL's growing domestic violence controversies, he finally delved into the outrageous case we've been reporting in great detail since early August, when Alabama's federal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller was arrested and charged with beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room.
Hayes plays audio from a portion of the 911 call from Fuller's wife, including the segment in which it sounds as if she is being repeatedly struck, as later cited by the 911 dispatcher. "Please help me. He's beating on me," she is heard crying afterward.
Hayes' brief segment on the Fuller wife-beating case --- with a promise to cover the story more in the future --- begins just after the 4:00 minute mark in the video below...
Atlanta Police say that when they responded to desperate 911 call from the Ritz-Carlton on the night of August 9, the wife's face and legs were bloodied and bruised, and that it appeared she had been dragged around the room by her hair. The room smelled of alcohol, but Judge Fuller appeared to otherwise be unscathed.
Several weeks after his arrest, Fuller took a plea deal in exchange for a pre-trial diversion program that will allow him to avoid prosecution and have his record entirely expunged after completion of once-a-week domestic violence counseling for 24 weeks. That, despite indications two year ago that he had also beaten his previous wife and had both drug and alcohol problems.
Unless he resigns or is impeached by the U.S. Congress, the George W. Bush-appointee to the federal bench in the Middle District of Alabama will continue to serve out his lifetime appointment for $200,000/year.
Two Congresswoman from Alabama, a Republican and a Democrat, have now called for accountability in the case of Fuller. They are the first members of Congress to speak out on the matter, despite outrage expressed from a number of elected officials in both the House and Senate over the NFL/Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal...
Fuller, as we have reported in some detail previously, is a former Alabama G.O.P. Executive Director and a client of Karl Rove. Fuller refused to recuse himself from the political prosecution of former AL Gov. Don Siegelman, despite a long held grudge against the very popular southern Democratic governor. Thanks to Fuller, Siegelman was shackled in handcuffs and leg irons and shuffled off to prison immediately after he was found guilty of a crime that 113 former U.S. state Attorneys General say has never been a crime before Siegelman was charged with it. Customarily, in a case such as Siegelman's, the Governor would have been allowed to go free pending appeal. Fuller did not allow him that courtesy.
In the meantime, Siegelman continues to serve a 6.5 year sentence in federal prison as he seeks a re-trial (based on, among other things, improprieties by Judge Fuller), while Fuller, a violent wife-beater (who appears to have beaten more than one wife!) still sits on the federal bench and will soon have his arrest record erased entirely, as if it never even happened.
So far, calls for Fuller's resignation or impeachment have been muted at best, even from among elected officials who had expressed outrage at the NFL's easy treatment of the Baltimore Raven's Ray Rice after he knocked out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City hotel elevator earlier this year.
But anger over a U.S. District Court judge getting off so easy, has been slowly growing, of late, as a few demands for impeachment or resignation have recently been heard from a number of Alabama media outlets and even a fellow Republican federal judge.
This week, two Congresswomen from Alabama, a Democrat and a Republican, have finally issued statements calling for accountability in the case of Judge Fuller.
Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Martha Roby (R-AL) are the only two women in Alabama's congressional delegation. Sewell has has called for Fuller's resignation and both women cited impeachment as an option moving forward.
"Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug. It must be confronted head on, and abusers must be held accountable," says Roby in a statement regarding Fuller this week. She called for the "judicial disciplinary process" to play out before articles of impeachment are introduced in the U.S. House.
"No one committing such abusive acts should get a pass. This is especially true for those charged with upholding and enforcing the law. Judge Fuller has violated the public trust and should resign," said the Democrat Sewell in her own statement. "Ultimately, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach members of the judiciary branch for misconduct. I will not hesitate in joining my colleagues to institute such proceedings if warranted."
As The BRAD BLOG reported earlier this month, a staffer for a senior member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, where articles of impeachment for federal judges usually begin in that chamber, told us that, "per past practice, the next step would be for the Judicial Conference to consider proceedings, then they send a recommendation to the Judiciary Committee based on their review." The Judicial Conference is, essentially, the administrative and disciplinary body for the federal U.S. Court system. An investigation is said to be under way by the 11th Circuit, though last month its acting Chief Judge indicated Fuller, who has had his caseload removed for the time being, may soon be allowed back to the court.
"'Fuller recognizes that he needs to deal with these serious issues quickly," he told Law360, "so when he returns there is as little disruption to his cases as possible."
Related previous stories at The BRAD BLOG:
• 8/11/2014: "Federal Judge in Don Siegelman Case Arrested, Charged with Abusing Wife in Atlanta Hotel"
• 8/25/2014: "Federal Judge Who Was Arrested for Beating His Wife (and Who Sentenced Don Siegelman) Is Now Hoping to Avoid Prosecution Altogether"
• 9/5/2014: "BREAKING: Federal Judge Who Presided Over Siegelman Case and Who Recently Beat His Own Wife Bloody Strikes Deal to Avoid Prosecution"
• 9/10/2014: "NFL's Ray Rice Loses Job for Knocking Out Wife, Federal Judge Mark Fuller Keeps Lifetime Appointment After Beating Wife Bloody"
• 9/15/2014: "Republican Senior Federal Judge, Domestic Abuse Experts Call for Accountability for Wife-Beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller"
• 9/15/2014: "Wife-Beating Federal Judge Mark Fuller Finally Mentioned on MSNBC [VIDEO]"