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Samuel Kent

From lawbrain.com

Samuel Kent served as a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas.  While on the bench, Kent was known for his unique writing style, which used sarcasm and exaggeration for humorous effect.

In August 2007, Kent was removed from duty as the sole judge in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas based on complaints of sexual abuse by two of Kent's employees. 

On August 28, 2008, the Department of Justice indicted Kent on sexual abuse charges.  Those charges were later amended by the federal grand jury to include additional sexual abuse charges and a new allegation of obstruction of justice. 

Kent eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and agreed to leave the federal judiciary.  He received a 33-month sentence, which he began serving on June 15, 2009 at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts.

Kent initially attempted to retire from his judgeship, claiming that a disability entitled him to retire before the standard retirement age of 65 for federal judges.  By retiring rather than resigning, Kent would have continued to receive his judicial salary.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that Kent could not claim disability status, however, stating in its opinion that it was the criminal investigation and resulting public shame that interfered with his ability to perform his judicial duties, not any disability.

Kent then agreed to retire, but set the effective date of his retirement as June 1, 1010.  This would have allowed him to continue to collect his salary while serving time in federal prison.

The United States House Judiciary Committee, apparently angered by Kent's delayed resignation, voted unanimously to send articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives.  The House passed the articles on June 19, 2009, making Kent the first federal judge to be impeached in twenty years.

On June 25, 2009, Kent sent President Barack Obama a new letter of resignation that would take effect on June 30, 2009.  President Obama accepted the resignation, and the Senate ended the impeachment trial.

Further Readings

Federal Judge Sentenced to Almost 3 Years for Obstruction of Justice

District Court Judge Wants to Collect a Year's Salary While in Prison

You Kent Always Get What You Want


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