Samuel Kent

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgAh, to be a federal judge. Life tenure means never having to say you’re sorry (unlike those state judges, like the hat-hating Holly Hollenbeck).
Judge Samuel Kent (S.D. Tex.), who has lawyered up in response to being charged with sexual misconduct by a court employee, is speaking out — sort of. In an interview published earlier this week in the Houston Chronicle, he tried to win some sympathy from the public.
Judge Kent discussed his struggles with alcohol (like Justice Thomas in his recent memoir), his diabetes, and the death of his first wife from brain cancer. But he did not address the substance of the allegations made against him:

“As with every human controversy, there are absolutely two sides to this one, and I will vigorously present mine at the appropriate time,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “It has been extremely frustrating for me, my family and my staff not to be able to speak in my defense.”…

He declined to address specifics of the misconduct allegations against him, citing federal laws that make judicial investigations secret.

So according to Judge Kent, there is another side of the story. As for what exactly it is, stay tuned.
After the jump, selected comments on the story from Houston Chronicle readers.
Kent talks of personal struggles [Houston Chronicle]
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent Hires Dick DeGuerin, Meets With FBI [Texas Lawyer]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Kent Doesn’t Want Your Sympathy (Or Does He?)”

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgAs regular ATL readers will recall, Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Texas) is currently on leave from the bench (although still collecting his $165,200 salary). The Fifth Circuit suspended him after allegations of what it described as sexual harassment.
But Judge Kent’s troubles may not be over yet. From the Galveston County Daily News (via How Appealing):

A woman who has accused U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of unwanted sexual touching will have her case reheard by a disciplinary panel of the 5th Judicial Circuit, her attorney, Rusty Hardin, said late Monday.

Late that afternoon, Hardin gave the panel summaries of interviews his team did of 20 people who have had contact with Kent. Hardin claims those interviews show that Kent has misbehaved toward women since shortly after he was named to the federal bench in Galveston in the early 1990s.

Hardin said he and his client are asking that the panel refer the matter to the Judicial Council of the United States with a recommendation that Kent be impeached.

Additional discussion, plus a reader poll, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Samuel Kent: A Bigger Horndog Than Bill Clinton?”

Blawg Review 134 Eric Turkewitz Above the Law blog.jpg* So what are your legal remedies if she cheats on you anyway? [copyranter]
* While we’re visiting copyranter: another day, another animal kingdom law firm ad. [copyranter]
* Did the Fifth Circuit go easy on Judge Kent? There may be more here than meets the eye. [How Appealing]
* Eric Turkewitz delivers a New York City marathon-themed Blawg Review. Very cool! [New York Personal Injury Blog via Blawg Review]
P.S. Speaking of the NYC marathon, thanks to the many ATL readers who supported our efforts to raise funds for cancer research. Our fundraising goal was $2,500; thanks to you, we easily exceeded that goal. Our fundraising page will remain up through the end of the year, and your donations are still welcome. If you’re looking for more tax deductions after getting that big bonus check, just click here.
As for our performance in the marathon, we finished in 4:43:27 (good enough for inclusion in the New York Times marathon results supplement, which includes everyone who finishes in under five hours — sorry, Katie Holmes). We were slower this time around than when we ran it in 2005. But considering that we actually trained in 2005 — unlike this year, when the longest run we did before the marathon was a 10-mile run back in April — we were pleased.

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgJudge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Texas) joins Judge Elizabeth Halverson and Chief Judge Edward Nottingham in our Judge of the Day Hall of Fame. He will no longer be eligible for recognition as a Judge of the Day, having transcended this award.
Why is Judge Kent deserving of induction? In the Houston Chronicle, Lise Olsen offers a detailed report of the allegations against Judge Kent (which we previously discussed here and here). The money quote:

[Case manager Cathy] McBroom was summoned to the judge’s chambers on Friday, March 23, at about 3 p.m.

Her hands were full of legal papers when the judge — a former high school athlete who is more than 6 inches taller and at least 100 pounds heavier — asked for a hug.

She told him she didn’t think that was appropriate, but reluctantly approached.

The judge grabbed Mc-Broom, pulled up her blouse and her bra and put his mouth on her breast. Then, Kent forced her head down toward his crotch.

As McBroom struggled, Kent kept telling the married mother of three what he wanted to do to her in words too graphic to publish. The papers fell to the floor. The pet bulldog Kent kept in his chambers began to bark.

The incident was interrupted by the sound of footsteps from another staff member in the corridor, and the judge loosened his grip. As she left, the judge said McBroom was a good case manager and then made suggestions about engaging in a sexual act.

McBroom ran out crying.

Review additional allegations, including a claim by a different ex-employee that Judge Kent once told her he could “service me when my husband was being treated for prostate cancer,” by clicking here.
How far did this federal judge go? [Houston Chronicle]

Takeover Charlie Savage Boston Globe Above the Law blog.jpg* Humor for tax lawyers. [TaxProf Blog]
* Additional thoughts on the Judge Samuel Kent case, from Ilya Somin. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Best magistrate judgeship ever? [San Jose Mercury News]
* Charlie Savage, whose book party we recently attended, is on the Colbert Report tonight. [Comedy Central]
* Also on television tonight (opposite the Colbert Report): Jan Crawford Greenburg interviews Justice Clarence Thomas, for Nightline. [ABC News]

Samuel Kent Judge Samuel B Kent Above the Law blog.jpgLast week we honored Judge Samuel B. Kent with our prestigious Judge of the Day award, based on his alleged sexual harassment of a court employee. Now the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council has also recognized Judge Kent. From Texas Lawyer:

The Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [on Friday] issued an order reprimanding and admonishing U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Galveston. The order relates to a complaint of judicial misconduct lodged against the judge on May 21 alleging sexual harassment toward an employee of the federal judicial system.

A former case manager for Kent, Cathy McBroom, confirms she filed a complaint against the judge. She declines further comment. McBroom currently works in the clerk’s office in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

You can access the order here (PDF). But as a tipster notes, “All the juicy stuff will ‘not be disclosed.’ No fun at all.”
Fear not, judicial gossip aficionados. The Houston Chronicle has more details:

Kent is accused of harassing and inappropriately touching his 49-year-old case manager in his chambers in March….

On the day of the incident, other employees saw McBroom crying and visibly upset, according to interviews. A few weeks later, McBroom transferred to another federal court job in Houston. McBroom was so shaken by the encounter, “She (was) a basket case,” an acquaintance said.

McBroom has retained Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who would not comment for now on the particulars of the case.

Not good news for Judge Kent. Hardin is one of Houston’s top trial lawyers.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Additional allegations against Judge Kent, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fifth Circuit Benchslaps the Naughty Judge Kent”

pubic hair coke Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously wrote about the mysterious leave of absence taken by Judge Samuel B. Kent (S.D. Tex.). It now appears that part of the mystery has been revealed. From the Galveston Daily News:

In the months before U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent was temporarily relieved of his duties, an employee of the court filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, sources have told The Daily News. The sources refused to be identified in speaking about a complaint that court officials have ordered to be kept confidential.

A sexual harassment complaint? You know what that means: elevation. Hello, Justice Thomas!
If you have any details about the allegations against Judge Kent, please email us. Thanks.
Sources: Judge took leave after complaint [Galveston Daily News]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Federal Judges Fleeing the Bench?

What’s up with all these federal judges seeking to leave their life-tenured quarters? We understand that the pay’s not great (which is why we urge them to marry rich). But being an Article III judge is still nice work if you can get it.

Despite the power and prestige, two federal judges are moving on — temporarily or permanently. First, from the Daily Business Review:

Martin Jenkins Judge Martin J Jenkins Above the Law blog.jpgIn a highly unusual move, U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins [N.D. Cal. (at right)], a life-tenured federal judge in San Francisco, is prepared to give up his seat and has applied for an opening on the California State Court of Appeal bench.

Jenkins, 54, a moderate Democrat and former state trial court judge in Oakland, Calif., was appointed by President Clinton a decade ago. He confirmed rumors that he has submitted an application with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for the vacancy.

We understand the allure of an appellate over a trial court gig. But still, giving up the federal bench for a state court is “highly unusual” — especially since the state court in question isn’t even the California Supreme Court (the move that Judge Morrison England (E.D. Cal.) was contemplating, before he withdrew his name from consideration).

Second, from the Houston Chronicle (via Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog):

U.S. District Judge Sam Kent [S.D. Tex.] will take a four-month leave from his Galveston bench for unspecified reasons, according to an order made public Monday.

No one involved would comment on the order, but students of the federal judiciary said it is unusual.

We smell a story here. A little more about Judge Kent, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Federal Judges Fleeing the Bench?”

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