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Did Drug Abuse and Racism Effect a Federal Judge's Rulings?

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the actions of a former federal judge to determine if drug abuse and racial bias had an impact on his rulings from the bench.

Jack T. Camp recently pleaded guilty to federal drug charges related to his relationship with a stripper and resigned as a U.S. district judge in Atlanta. The Camp investigation produced evidence that indicates he was not an impartial arbiter on the bench, according to an article in the Newnan (GA) Times-Herald.

It appeared the Camp matter would end with his sentencing on March 4. But U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the U.S. Public Integrity Section is examining evidence that parties might not have received lawful treatment in Camp's courtroom. Camp has ties to Alabama, where he served as special judge in the high-profile case of Mobile outdoorsman Edmund H. "Eddie" Smith.

Reports the Times-Herald:

The disclosure regarding the investigation into whether or not Camp's judicial decisions were affected by his use of drugs or alcohol says, in part, "While Camp's use of these drugs was not limited to weekends, he denies that he used any of these drugs contemporaneously with any court business, and we are currently unaware of any demonstrable evidence to the contrary. We have not discovered evidence of illegal drug use prior to May 2010."

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Perhaps more substantive are signs that racial animus played a role in Camp's judicial actions:

Yates' statement regarding the question of bias begins by saying, "Witness 1, (the dancer) who became acquainted with and developed a personal relationship with Camp in approximately May of 2010 stated that Camp disliked a particular individual ("Individual A"), who was African-American and who also had a personal relationship with Witness 1."

According to Witness 1, Camp told her that when African-American men appeared before him, he had a difficult time adjudicating their cases and specifically determining their sentences because he could not differentiate them from Individual A in light of his feelings about Individual A, according to Yates' statement. Witness 1 also stated that she had recorded this conversation but was unable to find the recording.

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Favoritism, in various forms, apparently was a common feature of Camp's decision-making:

Another case involves allegations that Camp said a female defendant reminded him of Witness 1 (the exotic dancer) so "he gave her a 12-month sentence instead of the suggested 60-month sentence."

The report goes on to say, "We identified a case during this period where Camp sentenced a white female defendant to a 15-month prison term instead of the 30-37 months recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines. There is also evidence that confirms that Camp consulted with Witness 1 (the exotic dancer) during the relevant period regarding the sentences that he imposed."

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 

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