TX Federal Judge Sentenced to 33 Months

U.S. District Court Judge Sam Kent was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison today for obstructing justice in the investigation of sexual harassment claims against him. Prosecutors had asked for 36 months.

He was granted a voluntary surrender and will report to prison next month.

Kent has asked for early retirement and is still being paid his salary. His salary continues until he resigns or is impeached. He was on the bench for 18 years.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Impeachment of federal district (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon May 11, 2009 at 01:46:18 PM EST
    judge:  same procedure as impeaching a President?

    Impeachment: Yes (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Peter G on Mon May 11, 2009 at 02:14:39 PM EST
    Same procedure.  A federal judge is entitled to retain his or her office "during good behavior."  Not much room to argue that Kent's "behavior" has fallen, shall we say, somewhat short of that standard.  Given the conviction it shouldn't take very long at all.  The House Judiciary Committee should get on this immediately.

    Karma (none / 0) (#2)
    by lobary on Mon May 11, 2009 at 02:04:18 PM EST
    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that there aren't many tears rolling down cheeks in the Texas legal community today. Kent had a reputation as a bully and wrote many opinions where he eviscerated with his, er, unique sense of humor those attorneys who had the misfortune of invoking his wrath.

    agreed (none / 0) (#4)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon May 11, 2009 at 03:35:10 PM EST
    First year out of law school, several co-workers of mine were involved in a months-long criminal environmental case in his court.  The stories from that trial were legendary.  In the end, both defendants were convicted, but the 5th Circuit reversed due to clear error by Kent when he had a private conversation with the jury foreperson in his chambers without allowing counsel for either side to be present or even to see what was said until after the verdict was delivered--this, in the face of clear Supreme Court precedent finding such conduct to be reversible error.  So, yeah.

    There were also stories at the time about how the Marshall Service would follow him home every day to make sure he didn't get into a drunk driving accident on the way home.