Judge Wade McCree left the bench after an inappropriate photo leaked (though he was also embroiled in a sex scandal). Does a similar fate await Judge William Holcombe Pryor of the 11th Circuit?
The Internet and especially legal blogosphere exploded earlier this week when nude photos of a man bearing a striking resemblance to Judge Pryor appeared on Legal Schnauzer (link NSFW), a blog dedicated to fighting legal "injustice," and filled with criticism of allegedly-corrupt judges. The blog is authored by Roger Shuler, who holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri, worked for 11 years at a daily newspaper, and then spent 19 years as a university editor.
The photos came from badpuppy.com, reportedly one of the largest gay porn sites on the Internet, and were allegedly taken when Pryor was a student at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) in the early 1980s. The photos, which originally appeared in a print magazine, resurfaced briefly on BadPuppy in 1997 before being taken down. Printouts survived, however.
Shuler contacted Judge Pryor, who responded:
I have nothing to say to you except that these accusations are totally false.Do not contact me again.
A second email received a similar response.
Judge Pryor was confirmed to the bench in 2005. His candidacy was extremely controversial due to his antigay stance, reports the Advocate.
You're probably wondering: how credible is this source? After all, it comes from a Google Blogspot blog, not a major news publication or some other source that has inherent credibility. Above the Law looked in to Shuler's background and found some reasons why one might question his motives:
"And Shuler may have an axe to grind against the judiciary. Other posts on his website refer to federal judges as corrupt, and he's filed and lost lawsuits in Judge Pryor's court, the Eleventh Circuit (see here and here). There's a website dedicated to exposing the supposed truth behind some of Shuler's scurrilous tales, which notes that he has been sued for defamation and accuses him of being a 'Wannabe Journalist, Pseudo Court Commentator and Cyber Bully.'"
Shuler responded in kind, addressing each of the issues (again, NSFW). He did lose two lawsuits in the 11th Circuit, a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit and a First Amendment/age discrimination suit against his former employer, the University of Alabama, though neither case appears to have involved Pryor. He notes that his criticism of the judges involved in those cases were echoed by others, including a Columbia University law professor.
As for the anti-Legal Schnauzer site, according to Shuler, the site is connected to Ted Rollins, who himself may have an "axe to grind" after Shuler's blog reported accusations of child abuse, perjury, and more.
Back to the Photos ...
Credible source or not, the photos do resemble the 11th Circuit jurist. Above the Law has a censored version of the photo (SFW), and here is a photo of the judge (SFW). Legal Schnauzer has the printout from BadPuppy, which has "Bill Pryor and Tom Wander" displayed next to the photo (SFW).