It was quite shocking last October when word first surfaced that then-federal judge Jack Camp, at the time a senior judge for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), might have indulged in cocaine, marijuana, and sex with a prostitute. The charges were hard to believe, especially given Judge Camp’s judicial office.

But, as it turned out, there was some truth to the allegations. In November, Judge Camp pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from his role in a scandal that involved drugs, guns, sex, and a stripper named Sherry Ann Ramos.

Now new information has come to light that makes Judge Jack Camp’s behavior perhaps more understandable, even if still illegal….

Judge Camp will be sentenced next month; the new info appeared in presentencing submissions from counsel. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

A decades-long battle with depression and brain damage from a bicycling accident led ex-judge Jack Camp to make the self-destructive choices of using drugs and striking up an affair with a stripper, court filings say.

Camp, 67, of Newnan resigned in disgrace from the U.S. District Court bench in November when he pleaded guilty to federal charges. This included one felony — giving the stripper [Sherry Ann Ramos], who he knew was a convicted felon, money to buy drugs. He is to be sentenced March 11….

The filing noted that Camp began seeking treatment for depression in November 1999, and his condition involved “a mood cycling or bipolar disorder.” Features of these afflictions are impaired judgment and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities, the filing said.

(Based on her mugshot, query whether sleeping with Sherry Ann Ramos qualifies as a “pleasurable activit[y].”)

Camp’s conduct “is certainly consistent with that characterization,” the sentencing memorandum said. The filing included dozens of letters from friends and colleagues who wrote in support of the ex-judge.

In 2000, Camp also suffered a serious head injury when he had an accident while bicycling without a helmet in rural Coweta County, the filing said, noting that to this day he has no memory of what happened.

Camp suffered damage to the impulse control part of his temporal lobe, “which would ordinarily inhibit impulsiveness or extremely reckless behavior,” the filing said.

Moral of the story: DO NOT RIDE BICYCLES. Walking is fine; riding a car is fine; taking mass transit is fine. But bicycles, and their often-reckless, entitled riders, create problems for pedestrians and motorists alike. They are to be avoided.

(Speaking of cycling, yes, we are aware of the Gibson Dunn pro bono controversy. Given my anti-cyclist views, I’m not taken by the topic. But if our sister site, Alt Transport, writes something up, we might do a cross-post on ATL. Send tips to Ami Cholia by email if you want to see a story.)

At the time of his arrest, Camp, who had become a senior judge, was feeling isolated and was dealing with a severely ill mother and sister, the lawyers said.

His mental health issues and the stresses he was coping with do not excuse his conduct, the filing said. “They do help explain, however, how in May of 2010 a lonely man in the twilight of his life became entangled with a seductive prostitute more than willing to take advantage of his needs and of his misguided impulse to be her friend and protector.”

We’re not sure if the relationship between Jack Camp and Sherry Ann Ramos, which originated in a lap dance, qualifies as that of a “protector” and “protectee.” But we’ll leave that for Judge Thomas Hogan (D.D.C.), who will be sentencing Judge Camp, to decide. According to the Associated Press, “Camp could face up to four years in federal prison when he is sentenced next month, but he is likely to get substantially less time. Camp’s attorneys asked for probation, a fine and community service.”

In any event, it is sad to see what has happened to Jack Camp, who was once “a respected federal judge and Vietnam War veteran,” as noted by the AP. His tragic tale is a sobering reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

My Alma Mater in the News! (Coke, strippers and judges, oh my!) [This Ain't Hell]
Judge says depression, accident led to cocaine, stripper troubles [Atlanta Journal Constitution via ABA Journal]
Ex-Ga. judge: depression led to drug conviction [Associated Press via ABA Journal]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Judge Jack Camp


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