Senate, for Just the 8th Time, Votes to Oust a Federal Judge
Judge Porteous, the eighth federal judge to be removed from office in this manner, was impeached by the House in March on four articles stemming from charges that he received cash and favors from lawyers who had dealings in his court, used a false name to elude creditors and intentionally misled the Senate during his confirmation proceedings. The behavior amounted to a “pattern of conduct incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him,” according to the articles against him.
All 96 senators present voted “guilty” on the first article, which concerned his time as a state court judge and his subsequent failure to recuse himself from matters involving a former law partner, with whom he was accused of trading favors for cash.
Tapping his fingers nervously on the table as he looked at the paper where his lawyer kept track of each vote, Judge Porteous waited in vain for a “not guilty” vote. As the last of the senators stood to formally render a decision, a lawyer for the judge reached over to squeeze his arm in consolation.
On the other three articles, some senators did support Judge Porteous, with 27 voting in his favor on the article concerning meals, trips and car repair he was accused of receiving from a bail bondsman. The senators also voted 94 to 2 to disqualify him from holding future federal office.
“I am deeply saddened to be removed from office but I felt it was important not just to me but to the judiciary to take this fight to the Senate,” Mr. Porteous said in a statement.
The statement added, “While I still believe these allegations did not rise to the level of impeachable offenses as a constitutional matter, I understand how people of good faith could disagree.”... Read rest of the article here.
Senate convicts, ousts U.S. judge in Louisiana over cash and favors
WASHINGTON - The Senate on Wednesday found Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of U.S. District Court in Louisiana guilty on four articles of impeachment and removed him from the bench; he becomes the eighth federal judge to be removed from office and the first the Senate has ousted in more than two decades.
Porteous was impeached by the House in March on charges that he received cash and favors from lawyers who had dealings in his court, used a false name to elude creditors and intentionally misled the Senate during his confirmation proceedings.
The prosecutors said gambling and drinking problems led Porteous to begin accepting cash and other favors from attorneys and bail bondsmen with business before his court.
The behavior amounted to a "pattern of conduct incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him," according to the articles against him.
Porteous, 64, was appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1994 and has been suspended with pay since 2008. As a result of his removal from the bench, which took effect immediately, he will not receive his annual federal pension of $174,000.
In earlier hearings, two attorneys who once worked with Porteous had testified that they gave him thousands of dollars in cash, including about $2,000 stuffed in an envelope in 1999, just before Porteous decided a major civil case in their client's favor. They also said they paid for meals, trips and part of a bachelor party for one of Porteous' sons in Las Vegas, including a lap dance at a strip club.
Another witness, New Orleans bail bondsman Louis Marcotte, described a long-standing relationship in which Marcotte and his employees routinely took Porteous to lavish meals at French Quarter restaurants, repaired his automobiles, washed and filled his cars with gas, and took him on trips. In return, Porteous manipulated bond amounts for defendants to give Marcotte the highest fees possible, said Marcotte, who served 18 months in prison on related corruption charges.
Though Porteous never denied many of the facts in the case, his defense was based in part on the notion that officials could not be impeached for conduct that occurred before their attaining the office from which they would be removed.
"In the history of this republic, no one has ever been removed from office on the basis of pre-federal conduct," said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who led Porteous' defense....Read rest of story here