Senate votes to remove federal judge from bench

Senate votes to remove federal judge from bench

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[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] voted unanimously Wednesday to convict federal judge Thomas Porteous on four articles of impeachment and remove him from the bench. Porteous was accused of accepting bribes from lawyers while a judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website], making false statements in his bankruptcy declaration and lying to Congress during his confirmation. Porteous’s lawyer Jonathan Turley [personal blog] had argued [JURIST report] that Porteous had shown poor judgment but that his actions were entirely legal. Porteous becomes just the eighth federal judge to be impeached and convicted by Congress.

The US House of Representatives [official website] voted unanimously [JURIST report] in March to impeach Porteous. After an investigation [report text, PDF] by a special committee, the Judicial Conference found “substantial evidence” that Porteous had signed false financial disclosure forms, falsified statements in a personal bankruptcy proceeding, made false representations to secure a bank loan and violated criminal laws [text] and ethical rules by soliciting and receiving “cash and other things of value” from lawyers in a bench trial over which he was presiding. Porteous’ decision in that case, In re Liljeberg enters v. Lifemark Hospitals, was later partially reversed [opinion text] by the Fifth Circuit, which earlier this year reprimanded Porteous [text, PDF]. A House committee began investigating Porteous [JURIST report] in 2008.