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Judge Mark Fuller Resigns Over Domestic Violence

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By Peter Clarke, JD on June 02, 2015 2:04 PM

Mark Fuller, possibly the most reviled judge in recent history, has finally resigned. Fuller came into the spotlight in summer 2014, when he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. The assault occurred after his wife accused him of carrying on an illicit relationship with a clerk.

During his time on the bench, Fuller came under scrutiny for his private business interests that allegedly conflicted with his obligations as a judge. Specifically, he owned a significant interest in Doss Aviation, Inc., a government contractor. It was estimated that his annual income from stock in the company was worth up to $1 million in a single year.

This already unpopular judge didn't do himself any favors when he reportedly decided to have an affair with an assistant in his courtroom. He subsequently went through a messy divorce that was made public through the media's dissemination of the unsealed divorce files.

The most recent incident regarding domestic violence sealed public opinion: Mark Fuller is possibly not fit to serve a lifetime appointment as a U.S. District Judge.

Judge Fuller was arrested in an upscale hotel in Atlanta, Georgia after allegedly beating his wife in 2014. If there was ever a good time to step down as a judge, this was it. As Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama stated, "If an NFL player can lose his job because of domestic violence, then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench."

When Can a Judge Be Removed From the Bench?

A federal judge's lifetime appointment is conditioned upon good behavior. If a judge violates professional codes or ethical rules, he or she may be subject to an investigation and may be removed or impeached. This process often begins with a formal complaint. For example, a judge can be subject to an investigation for wrongly donating to a political campaign.

Accepting the notion that power breeds corruption, it shouldn't be too much of a shocker that we hear about the occasional bribery scandal or drunk driving case involving a judge. However, judges of all people shouldn't be surprised when they're required to face the consequences of their actions.

Fuller's Fight to Stay on the Bench

Judge Fuller initially denied the claims of domestic abuse. In October 2014, his attorney called certain instances of the domestic abuse claims to be nonsense. Since that time, a judicial council has confirmed that Fuller's actions may be impeachable. Following this announcement, Fuller has finally quit his post, formally withdrawing on Friday, May 29th.

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