Judge Samuel Kent Indicted While Still On The Bench

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Judge Samuel Kent Indicted While Still On The Bench

Postby Shuftin » 08 Sep 2008, Mon 2:58 am

September 3, 2008

Juan A. Lozano

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent, charged last week with committing sex crimes, is now part of an exclusive but notorious club: federal judges who have been indicted while on the bench.

"It is extremely rare. We've gone (nearly) 20 years now since the last one," said Arthur D. Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Kent was set to make his first court appearance Wednesday on federal charges of abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse. He has been a federal jurist in Galveston, Texas, federal court since President George H.W. Bush appointed him in 1990.

If convicted on the one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse, Kent could face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Each of the two counts of abusive sexual contact carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kent's former case manager, Cathy McBroom, accused the judge of physically harassing her over a four-year period, starting in 2003. The final incident was in March 2007, when she said the judge pulled up her blouse and bra and tried to escalate contact until they were interrupted.

Her accusations set off investigations by the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which suspended him in September 2007 for four months with pay but didn't detail the allegations against him.

As part of the judicial council's punishment, Kent was transferred to the busy Houston federal courthouse, where McBroom was transferred after reporting her allegations. Kent had been the only U.S. District Court judge in Galveston, an island beach town 50 miles southeast of Houston.

Until his indictment, Kent was known for writing humorous rulings peppered with sarcastic scoldings of lawyers. He has not presided over any high-profile cases.

Before his indictment, Kent occasionally made news with his humorous court rulings in which he would sometimes scold lawyers with biting and sarcastic remarks. Kent is the first federal judge to be charged with sex crimes. Most other indictments of federal judges have involved corruption or other financial misdeeds.

The last federal judge indicted was Robert F. Collins, in February 1991, for scheming with a New Orleans businessman to split a drug smuggler's $100,000 payoff. He was convicted and sentenced later that year to nearly seven years in prison.

Four judges were indicted in the 1980s. Before then, one would have to go back about 50 years to find a sitting federal judge who was indicted, Hellman said.

Kent's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has said his client is innocent and will stay on the bench while he awaits trial.

Hellman said some indicted judges have stayed on the bench while others have stepped down on their own.

Only Congress can remove a federal judge through the impeachment process, which starts with the House voting for impeachment and then the Senate holding a trial.

Since 1803, the House has impeached 13 judges and the Senate has convicted seven of them. Two others resigned after being impeached by the House, according to the Federal Judicial Center's Web site.

But lawmakers usually wait for the criminal process to conclude before proceeding with impeachment, said Hellman, an expert on federal judicial ethics and misconduct.

"We face here a situation where the Constitution itself gives (Kent) lifetime tenure and you cannot reduce his salary while in office," he said. "Within that framework, is it better to stop him hearing cases altogether or better for him to hear cases not remotely connected to the charges? In my mind, the latter makes more sense."

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Postby WaTcHeR » 23 Feb 2009, Mon 4:51 pm

HOUSTON — A federal judge pleaded guilty Monday to lying to investigators about sexually abusing his secretary in exchange for prosecutors dropping five sex-crime charges alleging he groped two women.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent also retired Monday, effective immediately, possibly avoiding impeachment by Congress.

Kent's guilty plea to an obstruction of justice charge came as jury selection in his trial was set to begin.

According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek no more than three years in prison for Kent when he is sentenced on May 11. Obstruction, a felony, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The jurist, who once shouted in court that he would bring "hordes of witnesses" in his defense, spoke barely above a whisper as he pleaded guilty to lying to a judicial committee investigating the sex-related charges.

"Judge Kent believes this compromise settlement was in the best interests of all involved," his attorney, Dick DeGuerin said in a statement after the hearing. "A trial would have been embarrassing and difficult for all involved."

Kent, 59, had been facing six charges involving two women — five related to federal sex crimes and the obstruction charge.

Kent was the first federal judge charged with a sex crime and would have been one of only a handful to be tried. He and DeGeurin told the presiding judge that he was taking medication for depression and anxiety as well as diabetes and was under the care of both a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

If he had been convicted of the most serious federal sex crimes charges against him, Kent could have received a sentence of up to life in prison.

Kent, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, has been on the bench for nearly 19 years, serving most of that time as the lone judge in Galveston. Federal judges are appointed for life and can only be forcibly removed through impeachment by Congress.

Kent had vigorously maintained his innocence. DeGuerin had said the judge's conduct with the two women was mutual and consensual.

Prosecutors had said they would present evidence showing there was nothing consensual about what Kent did with the two women, Cathy McBroom, his former case manager, and Donna Wilkerson, the judge's current secretary.

The Associated Press does not normally name alleged victims of sexual abuse, but McBroom's attorney and her family have used her name in publicly discussing the case. Wilkerson appeared outside the federal courthouse with her lawyer, who used her name to reporters.

Both women were in the courtroom as Kent entered his guilty plea.

"I'm very happy this part of the process is over," McBroom said. "I feel extremely relieved and I look forward to the sentencing."

"This wouldn't have happened if she didn't have the courage to come forward," her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said. They declined to take questions from reporters.

"We're happy today," said Terry Yates, Wilkerson's attorney. "The judge has accepted responsibility for what occurred. We look forward to May 11 (the sentencing date) and seeing that justice is done in this case."

Authorities first investigated Kent after McBroom filed a complaint against him in May 2007 and the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began a probe.

McBroom accused Kent of harassing her over a four-year period, culminating in March 2007, when she said the judge pulled up her blouse and bra and tried to escalate contact until they were interrupted.

The judicial council suspended Kent in September 2007 for four months with pay but didn't detail the allegations against him. It also transferred him to Houston, 50 miles northwest of Galveston, where he had worked since being appointed in 1990.

A Justice Department investigation of McBroom's claims led to Kent's indictment in August on three federal sex charges.

Last month, prosecutors added two more sex charges and the obstruction charge, accusing Kent of trying to engage his secretary in a sex act and then lying about it to the judicial council.

DeGuerin had said Kent and his secretary were involved in a longtime affair and he didn't reveal it to the judicial council because he was being a "gentleman."

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/g ... Trial.html
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Postby WaTcHeR » 13 Mar 2009, Fri 7:03 pm

HOUSTON -- U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent will be making judicial history when he enters a courtroom Monday -- but it won't be the kind he'll want to remember.

Kent will join the handful of federal judges who have taken part in a trial as a defendant, and he will be the first to face trial on a sex crime charge.

The 59-year-old judge is accused of fondling two female court employees as he tried to force himself on the women and have them perform sex acts.

Jury selection in his trial was set to begin Monday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kent has pleaded innocent to five charges related to federal sex crimes and to one alleging obstruction of justice, in which he is accused of lying to an investigative committee.

His nearly 19 years on the bench might buy him some credibility with the jury, said Barry Pollack, an attorney not connected to the case.

"What you might see happen is the jury take the presumption of innocence a little more seriously," said Pollack, with the Washington firm of Miller & Chevalier. "But if the allegations are proven, the jury would be very offended a federal judge engaged in that conduct."

Kent wants to testify, his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said during a hearing last week in which he unsuccessfully tried to have the obstruction charge thrown out or severed.

"Judge Kent believes his conduct with both of the [women] was mutual and consensual," said DeGuerin, who has represented such high-profile clients as former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Branch Davidian sect leader David Koresh.

Kent's former case manager, Cathy McBroom, filed a complaint against him in May 2007 and the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals began an investigation. The other woman was identified in court last week as Kent's former secretary.

McBroom accused Kent of harassing her over a four-year period, culminating in March 2007, when she said the judge pulled up her blouse and bra and tried to escalate contact until they were interrupted.

A Justice Department investigation of McBroom's claims led to Kent's indictment in August on three sex charges. Last month, prosecutors added two more sex charges and the obstruction charge, accusing Kent of trying to engage his former secretary in a sex act and then lying about it to the judicial council.


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"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

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Re: Judge Samuel Kent Indicted While Still On The Bench

Postby KC » 04 Aug 2010, Wed 8:50 pm

As a prisoner, former U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent has been shunted into solitary confinement, forced to hear the screams of another inmate being raped and ordered by a "cruel" sergeant in the Florida prison system to do calisthenics in the nude, according to allegations in a federal court memorandum filed Tuesday.

Kent has requested that his 33-month sentence be vacated and adjusted based on his allegations of inhumane and unfair treatment.

The former Galveston-based federal judge was impeached by Congress and resigned in June 2009 after being convicted of obstruction of justice. He admitted in a related plea deal that he lied about having repeated unwelcome sexual contact with two female court employees.

In legal action this week, Kent argues he has been unjustly labeled a sex offender by the federal Bureau of Prisons and wrongly excluded from a substance abuse treatment program that could have reduced his sentence by as much as a year. The court filings argue that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a senior judge from Florida, also believed Kent would be treated more fairly and would qualify for the program at the time of sentencing.

Instead, Kent says he has been transferred from prison to prison without explanation, at times prevented from communicating his whereabouts with his wife or his attorney and forced to spend long stints in solitary — once for 43 consecutive days. He's now assigned to an unnamed maximum security facility in the Florida state prison system, where the alleged mistreatment only worsened, Kent's attorney Dick DeGuerin said. The BOP inmate website doesn't disclose Kent's current location.

DeGuerin likened Kent's treatment to "torture."

Attorneys for both of Kent's victims had no immediate comment on the judge's request for reconsideration of his sentence.
Says cell was cold, filthy

In the criminal prosecution and in congressional testimony, Kent was accused of repeatedly groping his former case manager both on and under her clothing and once attempting to force her to perform oral sex. He also was accused of forcing caresses on his secretary and of performing unwanted digital and oral sex on her.

In court papers, Kent alleges his mistreatment as a prisoner began in June 2009 - the very day he resigned as a judge. At that time, Kent was assigned to the Deven Federal Prison, a medical evaluation facility in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons system in Massachusetts.

Kent resigned days after becoming the 14th judge in U.S. history to be impeached by a vote of the U.S. House of Representatives. The resignation allowed him to avoid removal from the bench through a full U.S. Senate trial.

That day, BOP staff locked Kent "wearing only a smock and carrying only a single sheet in a filthy ... completely empty cell where the temperature was kept at 60 degrees. The only bed in the room was a raised concrete slab with no mattress and the light was kept on constantly," Kent's motion to vacate his sentence says.

After being evaluated at Deven, Kent had expected to be transferred to a facility where he could receive treatment for alcohol abuse and depression, documents say.

Instead, he ended up at the Lake Butler Reception Center in Florida's Department of Corrections. There, an unidentified sergeant forced Kent to "strip naked and perform a painful and repetitive series of humiliating exercises. Once Sam Kent was too tired and in too much pain to perform the exercises any more, the sergeant confiscated Sam Kent's wedding ring and used it to ridicule him," the records say.
Calls conditions 'abusive'

Kent spent the next 16 days in solitary, where he claims the first night he helplessly listened to the "continuous screams of a man being violently raped in the next cell" and "was horrified to observe that the guards ignored the man's screams and only came to remove the man from the cell after the attack had finally ended."

Kent has participated in alcohol treatment in the Florida state prison, court papers say. But such "abusive psychological and physical conditions" have "jeopardized his ongoing recovery from severe depression and alcoholism." DeGuerin said Kent decided to appeal to the federal courts for relief after other informal complaints brought no real improvement.

DeGuerin said Tuesday he hopes Judge Vinson will grant a hearing to review evidence to support Kent's motion for the reconsideration of his sentence.




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