Battery Charges Against Judge Mark Fuller Dropped
Last year, denizens of the Eleventh Circuit were shocked to learn that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller had been charged with battery after his wife made a 911 call from a hotel.
Fuller was formally charged with battery, but that was just the start of his problems. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reassigned his cases and suspended him from receiving new ones. Both of Alabama's senators called for his to step down. Now, though, at least the criminal component of this saga is over: The battery charge against him has been dismissed.
Let's Back Up
The case against Fuller began in August when his wife called 911 from the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta, claiming he was beating her. They had both apparently gotten into an altercation after she accused him of having an affair with a law clerk.
In September, Fuller accepted a plea agreement in which he would have his arrest and charge expunged if he completed a domestic violence program for 24 weeks. Fuller completed the program on April 2. As promised, the misdemeanor battery charge was dropped and the arrest expunged. (Fuller didn't ask for the arrest to be expunged, noting that it would be sort of futile in light of the publicity the case engendered, but the court granted the expungement, anyway).
It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over
Of course, that does little to address Fuller's other problem, which is a judicial investigation into what happened. A five-judge panel was convened to investigate the incident and recommend whether Fuller should be reprimanded -- up to and including impeachment.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote a letter to the panel asking for an update, but hasn't yet received a response, reported AL.com. Nor did the House Judiciary Committee when it asked for more information in December.
Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama wasn't pleased by the news that Fuller's charges were dismissed. "I am deeply disturbed that the charges against Judge Mark Fuller have been dismissed. There should never have been an agreement to expunge his record, nor should he be allowed to remain on the federal bench," she said.
Fuller remains essentially suspended from hearing cases, though he's still being paid. Federal district judges currently make $201,100 a year.
- Opposition Mounts to Ala. Judge Accused of Battery (Law360)
- Ala. Supreme Court Orders Halt to Same-Sex Marriages (FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog)
- Federal Judge 'Once Again' Tells Ala. to Let Gay Couples Marry (FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog)
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