Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Goodlatte & Conyers Statement on Judge Fuller Resignation

WASHINGTON - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) issued the following statement on the resignation of Middle District of Alabama Judge Mark Fuller, who was arrested in August 2014 for physically assaulting his wife in a hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia, a violation of state criminal law.

“It is a rare occasion when the U.S. Congress impeaches a federal judge and removes the accused from the bench, but it is a necessary tool to protect the integrity of our judicial system. 

“However, the House Judiciary Committee was prepared to initiate impeachment proceedings against Judge Fuller pending the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and the Committee strongly encouraged the courts to expedite the investigation into Judge Fuller’s misconduct. 

“Once it became clear that the 11th Circuit would issue an order that Judge Fuller’s conduct could constitute grounds for impeachment, Judge Fuller decided to resign in shame. Once his resignation becomes effective, Fuller will not qualify for either a judicial salary or be eligible for a judicial pension.  If Judge Fuller does not resign on August 1st, as stated in his resignation letter, the House Judiciary Committee will consider whether impeachment is warranted once the Judicial Conference issues its final report.”

Background: The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power and responsibility to impeach federal judges and the Senate the power to remove the accused from office after a fair and impartial hearing. 

In December 2014, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers sent a letter to Chief Judge Ed Carnes and Judge Gerald Tjoflat of the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit regarding the status of the investigation of Judge Fuller and the anticipated timeline for completion of the required comprehensive written report to the Circuit’s Judicial Council. 

The Judicial Council of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit has now concluded their investigation and issued an order that found Judge Fuller’s conduct ‘might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment under article II of the Constitution.’  This recommendation has been sent to the Judicial Conference of the United States which makes the final recommendation to Congress.

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