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Will President Obama Maintain Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence in the Case of Federal Judge Mark Fuller?

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Will President Obama Maintain Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence in the Case of Federal Judge Mark Fuller?

By Dana Jill Simpson

August 13th 2014

Every October President Obama and Vice President Biden speak out against domestic violence and proclaim that they stand for "zero tolerance" regarding this crime. Their speeches often feature the statistic that one in three women in America are impacted by domestic violence. VP Biden, in his first year in office, announced long-time advocate Lynn Rosenthal would be the White House advisor on violence against women, a newly created position because, Biden claimed, his office and the President genuinely believe in zero tolerance for domestic violence. President Obama called on executive heads of federal agencies in 2012 to create policies against domestic violence in their workplaces. In the following years President Obama has signed further laws to protect women who are victims of domestic violence.

This October President Obama and Vice President Biden will be faced with a challenge to the seriousness of their commitment to zero tolerance for domestic violence. They are now confronted by a sitting federal judge in Alabama named Mark Fuller who has been arrested for battery against his wife in the "ritzy" Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta Georgia. Fuller has been quoted in the press on the day of his release stating that he "just pushed" his wife (Kelly Gregg Fuller) to the ground and was defending himself from an attack by her, triggered by her concerns over his possible infidelity.

However a local news station has obtained and published the audio from Kelley Fuller's 911 call in which you can hear her being hit. The police report also established that there were bruises on Kelly Fuller's legs, cuts on her face and at least one hair plug pulled out and left laying on the floor. There were no marks of any sort on Judge Mark Fuller according to the police. The room was filled with an odor of alcohol and blood was found in the bathroom which is consistent with Kelly's story that she was dragged by her hair around the room.

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What is important to note is that Mark Fuller is a federal judge in Montgomery Alabama and was married to Lisa Fuller when reporters started writing about his lack of fidelity to Lisa with his own bailiff, Kelly Gregg who is now his wife and second alleged victim (so far?) of Mark Fuller's alleged violent domestic tendencies.

His first wife (Lisa Fuller) on filing for divorce alleged marital infidelity, domestic violence and prescription drug abuse on Mark Fuller's part. I became aware of this as people active at the courthouse in Montgomery when the divorce was filed asked me to notify reporters who had been covering the Siegelman case so that they could connect the dots between the judge and bailiff who were involved in Gov. Siegelman's prosecution as they felt it was unethical. Around the time that we became aware of Lisa Fuller's divorce, Mark Fuller's lawyer filed to have those divorce records sealed. It is now imperative in my opinion that a new public records request should be filed by reporters covering the Siegelman case and the new Fuller criminal charges in Georgia so that any possible pattern can be established that might affect the course of justice in the Georgia state court system.

It appears from the stories of the parties that new allegations of marital infidelity by Mark Fuller have surfaced as it is contended that the attack was over yet another affair by Mark Fuller with one of his courthouse's employees, this time a federal law clerk instead of the bailiff he ended up marrying who is now the victim in the domestic violence charge (battery) filed by the Georgia criminal justice system. Reports and rumors have also surfaced that another female employee who complained directly to Mark Fuller about turning his courtroom and office at the Montgomery federal building into a sexual playground (which she found offensive along with his treatment of his actual wife) was fired for making such a complaint by another judge in the federal court building.

Clearly we have two different wives here complaining that their husband Mark Fuller has committed infidelity with courthouse employees and both have made reports as to violent behavior; in Kelly Fuller's case her reporting is backed by witnesses, audio recordings and photographs.

If President Obama and Vice President Biden are serious about domestic violence issues, they will lead the movement to impeach Judge Mark Fuller from office, or accept his resignation based on their request to Fuller to quit the bench. To leave him in office would be an affront to their proclamation of zero tolerance for domestic violence and would disgrace the federal judiciary.

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It is sad that two learned law professors so far have spoken out and claimed that a misdemeanor battery conviction in a domestic violence situation, if that happens, would not cause Mark Fuller any problems related to his position on the bench. The two professors might have been correct twenty five years ago when domestic violence wasn't treated as seriously as it is today but they are wrong now to dismiss the seriousness of these charges.

I suspect women's groups all over the country will call for zero tolerance and Fuller's removal from the bench. To allow him to stay if convicted will not be "zero tolerance", instead it will be intolerable for women across the country as we have fought long and hard to have this crime be taken seriously -- regardless of the wealth, connections or position of the person convicted.

Zero tolerance of domestic violence must mean zero tolerance even for a sitting federal judge. It is ironic that this judge sentenced Gov. Don Seigelman because Siegelman was known prior to his conviction as the strongest advocate the state of Alabama had ever seen against domestic violence, and repeatedly spoke across the state about strengthening the Alabama domestic violence laws including the concept of "zero tolerance" for this crime. If this judge is impeached or requested to resign it may prove to be the start of vindication for Gov. Don Siegelman who was a champion against the crime Fuller is now charged with.

Dana Jill Simpson lives in Rainsville, AL


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Jill Simpson is a lawyer from Alabama who represents government contractors and who was a whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case; she has a Master's in Religion and Philosophy from CIIS where she focused on the study of Themis and justice. She (more...)

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