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Will Federal Judge Get Off Easy for Snorting Coke With a Stripper?

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 11/29/10

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

Want to get off lightly if you ever get caught buying drugs while packing heat and cavorting with a stripper? Make sure you are a federal judge.

That's the lesson from the sordid tale of Jack T. Camp, a U.S. District Judge in Atlanta who recently pleaded guilty to charges related to his arrest in a hotel parking lot back in October. As part of the plea deal, Camp resigned his position--and he will be sentenced on March 4. But press reports indicate that Camp probably will get off with the kind of kid-gloves treatment that would not be afforded a regular citizen.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC):

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Camp pleaded guilty to one felony, aiding and abetting a felon's possession of cocaine, a painkiller and marijuana. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors -- possession of illegal drugs and giving his government-issued laptop to the stripper.

Camp must serve at least 15 days in custody. Federal sentencing guidelines recommend a term of four to 10 months in prison, although Camp and his attorneys can ask for a more lenient sentence.

Camp could wind up getting off with home confinement or probation. As a judge, the Reagan appointee was noted for his harsh sentences. Such sentences, apparently, do not seem so inviting when Camp is on the receiving end.

What was the key to Camp's softball treatment? Federal prosecutors allowed him to get away without pleading guilty to a gun-possession charge. At least one Atlanta lawyer, Bruce Harvey, had the guts to stand up and criticize the plea deal:

Harvey criticized the plea deal reached between Camp's legal team and the U.S. Justice Department's public integrity section. He questioned, for example, why prosecutors did not require Camp to plead guilty to a gun possession charge, which would have exposed him to a more severe sentence.

"Once again," he said, "it's the little people who get caught in the gears of the system, and those who run the system reap all the benefits."

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Here's another sign that it helps to be a federal judge: Camp is allowed to remain free on $50,000 bond. Several victims of Bush-era political prosecutions, including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy--were "convicted" for actions that are not even crimes and were immediately taken into custody, in shackles.

Sherry Ann Ramos is the stripper/informant who helped bring down Judge Camp. The Smoking Gun (TSG) calls Ramos "Atlanta's Most Notorious Stripper." Reports TSG:

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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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