By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2014, 6:05am PT  

Well, it took long enough for Washington Post's editorial board to take notice of wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, but at least they finally have...

THE CONSTITUTION says that federal judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour" - for life, that is, unless they commit an impeachable offense. Which brings us to the allegations of domestic violence against Mark E. Fuller, a U.S. District Court judge in Montgomery, Ala.

The paper then details the police response to the horrifying 911 call from Fuller's wife Kelli after the Judge reportedly "threw her to the ground, pulled her by the hair, kicked her and hit her in the face" (the actual 911 call is more horrifying still), leaving her bloodied inside their Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Atlanta on August 9th, and the disturbing similarities to the case of the NFL's Ray Rice, who was also allowed off the hook by the court system after beating up his then-fiancee/now-wife, as "first time offenders". (Even though Judge Fuller's previous wife alleged similar physical abuse during their divorce trial).

And then...

[P]oliticians from both parties have called for Judge Fuller's resignation, including the state's two Republican U.S. senators, who had supported his appointment by President George W. Bush in 2002. Judge Fuller said he "deeply regret[s] this incident" but refuses to step down. Meanwhile, he is effectively suspended from hearing cases, pending the 11th Circuit investigation.

The members of Congress calling for the judge's resignation say they want to demonstrate that there is no excuse for domestic violence and that it is doubly repugnant when allegedly committed by someone who is sworn to dispense justice. That's true, but with their impeachment powers, these politicians could investigate and punish Judge Fuller themselves, starting tomorrow, if they were so inclined.

As we read the history, impeachment for off-the-bench misconduct by a federal judge is rare; impeachment for domestic violence would be unprecedented. However, it belongs on the list of offenses potentially serious enough to warrant disqualification from "any Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States"; certainly it fits no reasonable definition of "good Behaviour." Presiding over a federal court, unlike football, is not a game. If the facts of Judge Fuller's case warrant it, Congress should not hesitate to proceed against him.

Glad they finally noticed. But, as we detailed with court documents last week, even impeachment would be a gift for Fuller, based on the almost identical circumstances (and worse) that appear to have occurred during his first marriage as well, just two years ago.

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Recently 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]"
9/17/2014:"Chris Hayes Plays Horrifying 911 Call From Federal Judge Mark Fuller's Wife; Sounds of Her Apparently Being Struck Can Be Clearly Heard"
9/19/2014:"'A Matter of Time': U.S. Senators, Representatives Finally Call for Some Accountability for Wife-Beating Federal Judge Mark Fuller"

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