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Senate Removes Louisiana Federal Judge

By Jason Beahm on December 10, 2010 12:15 PM

When I was in grade school, I was elected to be judge for a day as part of a school project. It was a very exciting day, we created a sort of mock "Main Street," where everyone had a job. Throughout the course of the day, various students were brought to my courtroom for trial. I decided the cases as follows: friends and pretty girls not guilty, everyone else, guilty. By noon, I had been pulled aside by a teacher who explained to me that my actions were corrupt and that I needed to decide the cases based on the evidence.

I'm guessing that former U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous never had such an educational experience in his youth. Porteous was impeached and convicted, becoming the first judge to be removed from office since 1989. The Senate has only removed 8 judges in history. Impeachment is a process whereby Congress can charge, try and remove officials for misconduct.

Porteous was accepting gifts from attorneys trying cases before him. And calling them gifts is frankly far too kind, they were pretty much bribes. He also lied during the course of his personal bankruptcy. Porteous must now say goodbye to his $174,000 a year pension, The Times-Picayune reports.

Porteous's actions amounted to a "pattern of conduct incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him," according to the articles against him, The New York Times reports.

"Today brought closure to the long controversy over my actions as a federal district judge. I am deeply saddened to be removed from office but I felt it was important not just to me but to the judiciary to take this fight to the Senate ... I have previously apologized for the mistakes that I committed in this case," Porteous said after the vote, reported The Times-Picayune.

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