GA Federal Judge Arrested on Drug and Gun Charges

You don't see this too often: A senior federal judge in the Northern District of Georgia (formerly the Chief Judge until taking senior status) has been arrested and charged with illegal drug and gun crimes:

Senior U.S. District Judge Jack T. Camp Jr. was arrested late Friday night near Sandy Springs. Camp, 67, is accused of purchasing cocaine and marijuana, along with prescription painkillers that which he shared with an exotic dancer he met last spring at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit for his arrest.

In some cases he bought drugs from the dancer, while in others the pair purchased them from other parties, according to the affidavit. Camp sometimes took loaded guns to the deals. Camp’s arrest came after a buy from an undercover agent, authorities said.

The dancer was cooperating with the feds and they wired her up to record his conversations without knowing. The Affidavit supporting the complaint is here. [More..]

As to the Judge's background:

Camp, a Vietnam veteran appointed to the bench by President Reagan, presided over cases in U.S. District Court in Atlanta for more than 20 years and was the chief judge before retiring last year and taking senior status, which essentially is a former of semi-retirement in which he still handles cases.

According to the affidavit, Camp brought a semi-automatic handgun to a recent drug purchase.

Camp's wife was in the gallery during his court appearance today. The dancer-girlfriend was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for her cooperation. She has a prior drug conviction.

His lawyer says it's a private matter and not about his judging:

“It’s not about Judge Camp being a judge. It is about Judge Camp being a husband and whether he has fulfilled those duties,” Morrison said after the bond hearing before a visiting U.S. magistrate. “This is not a case about judging. ... It is a case about judgment.”

Except he sentences people to jail on drug and gun offenses and has a reputation as a tough sentencer.

And he was using the cocaine and roxycodone. Every federal defendant who pleads guilty is asked in court whether they were under the influence of drugs at the time they decided to plead guilty and whether they are under the influence at the time of the plea. It seems only fair there should be some assurances the judge wasn't under the influence at the time he decided what sentence to impose and at the time he imposed it. I don't think this is a "private matter" at all.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Again proving (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by robotalk on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 11:08:40 PM EST
    guys are dumb this way.

    A youthful indiscretion, (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 10:36:38 PM EST
    it seems to me, of which he is presumed to be innocent.

    To be brutally honest (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 04, 2010 at 11:00:43 PM EST
    a silver lining to a new Republican House majority would be watching them forced into impeaching a white southern Reagan-appointed judge as a first order of business.

    Of course, as Peter says, the courts will presume to judge innocent.

    Don't Republican rules require (none / 0) (#8)
    by observed on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:47:20 AM EST
    two male Republican witnesses before any allegation of immorality or impropriety can be judged truthful?

    And how many do Democrat rules require? (none / 0) (#11)
    by republicratitarian on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:40:53 AM EST
    I'm wondering whether the charges (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 05:14:54 AM EST
    include the mandatory minimums for possessing a gun while dealing.  I seem to recall a case out of Utah a few years ago in which now-former Judge Cassell, a Republican favorite who, as a lawyer, took the case which tried to overturn Miranda, railed in an opinion over the 57 year mandatory minimum sentence the law required him to impose.  

    Of course, that defendant was an aspiring rapper....

    According to the Complaint that was filed, (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peter G on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 09:17:56 AM EST
    which TL linked, Camp is charged with simple possession of a controlled substance, 21 USC 844, and with being a user of illegal drugs in possession of a firearm. 18 USC 922(g)(3).  (The latter charge has some twisty interpretations, and can be hard to prove.) As the alleged buyer, not seller, he wouldn't be charged with distribution, although (as Kdog has pointed out in other threads) mere sharing of an illegal drug with a "friend" can come within the definition (21 USC 802(8),(11)) of "deliver" and "distribute."  These charges do not carry mandatory minimum terms and do not implicate the particularly onerous consecutive mandatory sentencing statute (18 USC 924(c)) that you are referencing.  I infer that the feds are looking for him to make a quick deal and resign his judgeship.  However, as Andgarden's post correctly implies, since federal judges are appointed for life unless impeached, and can keep drawing their salary until then whether they work or not, the few federal judges who have gotten jammed up like this have often hung on to the bitter end, for their families' financial sake.

    Why isn't he charged w/solicitation? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 10:00:56 AM EST

    I agree this case will be quickly resolved.  GOP
    doesn't want any more PR fallout than is necessary.

    Probation, resignation, no more salary, retain full
    pension benefits.  Hypocrisy, thy nameS include
    Judge Camp.

    Solicitation (of prostitution) would be (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 10:33:23 AM EST
    a local charge.  Local law enforcement anywhere would be very unlikely to go after a federal official, such as a judge; they would refer the matter to a federal agency to handle.  This was an FBI sting, and the charges that have been brought are the federal charges they thought might apply.

    my initial reaction, (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 10:50:22 AM EST
    upon reading this: "what was he thinking?"

    within 2.0375 seconds, i realized just how stupid that was.

    Thanks, Peter G. EOM (none / 0) (#15)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 10:51:51 AM EST


    Out of control. (none / 0) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:05:56 AM EST
    I'll watch your back anytime `cause I'm afraid and I not only have my little pistol, I've got my big pistol so, uh, we'll take care of any problems that come up," Camp said, according to the complaint
    The friggin' 67 y/o judge was ready to actually shoot somebody if he had to over a drug deal.