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JUDGE WATCH: Judge Samuel Kent Resigns in 2010 (Next Year)

They may say a lot of things about Judge Samuel Kent but no one can say he’s not clever.

As you know from earlier posts, Judge Kent took a plea deal and is set to start serving time next month for obstruction of justice in a case alleging sex crimes by the Judge against court employees. Being under official retirement age, Judge Kent sought special disability stature (he’s claimed bipolar disorder, as well as depression and anxiety) in order to keep benefits coming to him that would otherwise go away with his leaving the bench.

Fifth Circuit’s Edith Jones Letter

Edith Jones, Chief Justice of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, nixed that in a formal letter posted here for your review. Justice Jones unequivocally shut the door on Judge Kent’s disability claim.

Next move, Kent’s. Judge Kent sent a formal letter of his own, resigning his position as a federal judge — and here’s the catch. He’s resigning EFFECTIVE JUNE 2010. That’s right. One year from now.

This keeps Kent’s federal pay and benefits coming in for a full year after he goes to jail. And, by the time that Congress could finalize his impeachment proceedings, that year will have passed anyway.

Which is Kent’s biggest argument and what some say is a clever masterstroke — by sending this letter, Kent has kept his financial position intact for a year and he’s made the impeachment relatively moot.

Except for those that are calling Kent’s 2010 resignation letter “thumbing his nose at Congress,” “outrageous” and something that “… continue[s] to prove that he is unworthy of public service….”

So, what’s next?

Well, Congress is going to go forward with impeachment proceedings. And, let’s not count out serious legal minds like Edith Jones to be thinking of ways to counter Judge Kent’s latest move.

Judge Kent sure is manuevering like a master, especially for someone so overcome by mental conditions that he is to be considered completely disabled, huh?



Houston Chronicle

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