PSA: Corrupt Federal Judge Prior Cases Might be Tainted with Racial Prejudice and Drug Abuse

| December 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

campphoto_770534cJack Camp

Not that it couldn’t get any worse for former Senior Federal Judge Jack Camp but it appears that another proverbial hammer is about to come down on this once highly respected jurist. Through a statement just released by US Attorney Sally Q. Yates, information has unsurfaced that there is a high possibility that convicted former Judge Jack Camp might have allowed racial prejudice & drugs to influence several of his cases while he was sitting on the bench. According to a statement released by US Attorney Sally Q. Yates, a witness has testified that Judge Jack Camp may have been influenced by the color of a defendant when he passed sentence on him. In our pursuit to report the facts of these shocking revelations we have decided to provide the public with an exact copy of the statement that was just sent to us by the US Attorney’s office.

Sally_Yates
STATEMENT OF U.S. ATTORNEY SALLY QUILLIAN YATES

The United States Attorney’s Office has one responsibility – to seek justice.  To fulfill that responsibility, we are today disclosing information that we have recently discovered to the public as well as to defendants who may be affected by this information.

On November 19, 2010, former Senior District Judge Jack T. Camp (“Camp”) pleaded guilty to aiding a felon in possessing illegal drugs, possessing illegal drugs, and converting government property to private use.  Our office is recused from the prosecution of Camp, which is being handled by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice.  While we are recused from the prosecution, we were concerned that there may be facts underlying the charges or learned during the course of the investigation that call into question the manner in which Camp performed his judicial duties and should be disclosed to defendants  prosecuted before Camp.  Consequently, we requested that Public Integrity share with our office all information potentially relevant to Camp’s discharge of his judicial duties, and we further investigated to determine whether there was additional information that should be disclosed.

We have since reviewed the information provided by Public Integrity and interviewed individuals with close connections to the criminal allegations, including Camp.  We believe that the prompt disclosure of any arguably significant information is critical to our mission of fair and impartial justice. Consequently, we are providing information beyond that which we are legally required to disclose.  Although our investigation is ongoing, we have identified the following information that we believe should be disclosed immediately:

1.      POTENTIAL IMPAIRMENT

According to witnesses and Camp, from approximately May, 2010 until the end of September, 2010, on a roughly biweekly basis, Camp engaged in the  illegal use of controlled substances.  During this approximately four-month period, Camp consumed marijuana, powder cocaine, Xanax, Roxicontin, and other unknown prescription painkillers.  Both Camp and the individual with whom he consumed the drugs, (“Witness 1”), have stated that these drugs were not consumed together, although some may have been taken while Camp was also consuming alcohol.  While Camp’s use of these drugs was not limited to weekends, he denies that he used any of these drugs contemporaneously with any court business, and we are currently unaware of any demonstrable evidence to the contrary.  We have not discovered evidence of illegal drug use prior to May 2010.

2.      POTENTIAL BIAS

A second area of inquiry pertains to witnesses’ statements relating to potential racial bias.  Witness 1,  who became acquainted with and developed a personal relationship with  Camp in approximately May of 2010, stated that Camp disliked a particular individual (“Individual A”), who was African-American and who also had a personal relationship with Witness 1.  According to Witness 1, Camp told her that when African-American men appeared before him, he had a difficult time adjudicating their cases and specifically determining their sentences because he could not differentiate them from Individual A in light of his feelings about Individual A.  Witness 1 also stated that she had recorded this conversation but was unable to find the recording.

Witness 1 also said that Camp told her about a particular case in his court involving an African-American male and white female co-defendant in which Camp had sentenced the male defendant to 30 to 40 years because the African-American male had a personal relationship with the white female co-defendant and it reminded him of the relationship between Witness 1, who is white, and Individual A.  Based upon our review of the information provided by the Clerk of Court and our own best efforts to date, we have identified a case before Camp for resentencing during the relevant time that is similar to some aspects of the facts identified by Witness 1, but the Court did not actually impose a new sentence.  Our efforts to make a more conclusive determination are continuing.

Finally, Witness 1 said that Camp described a case where a female defendant reminded Camp of Witness 1, so he gave her a 12-month sentence instead of the suggested 60-month sentence.   We identified a case during this period where Camp sentenced a white female defendant to a 15-month prison term instead of the 30-37 months recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines.  There is also evidence that confirms that Camp consulted with Witness 1 during the relevant period regarding the sentences that he imposed.

A second witness (“Witness 2”) stated that, during a contentious telephone conversation about Witness 1’s lease, Camp used a racial epithet to refer to Individual A.  A colleague of Witness 2, who overheard a portion of the conversation, said that she did not hear Camp use any racial epithet.

When our office confronted Camp with the above allegations, he said that he did not make the statements attributed to him by either Witness 1 or Witness 2.  He further denied ever taking any judicial action based on racial bias.

Our review of information provided by the Clerk of Court indicates that the only criminal trial over which Camp presided from May, 2010 forward resulted in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury. Our only interest in any case that we have prosecuted before Camp is ensuring that justice is served. To that end, given these disturbing facts and allegations, this office will evaluate any criminal case adjudicated by Camp for impairment or bias that a defendant requests that we review. Furthermore, from May of 2010 forward, there is evidence that Camp’s judicial decision-making process may have been impacted by bias and/or impairment and it has been established that he was involved in criminal conduct during this period.  Therefore, we will not object to a defendant’s request for a resentencing in any case in which the defendant was sentenced during this time.

In addition to publicly releasing this information, we will provide it individually to each defendant sentenced by Camp during 2010.  Our inquiry into this matter is ongoing, and if we identify additional information that should be disclosed, we will provide that information as well.

We take very seriously a defendant’s and the public’s right to a fair, impartial, and unimpaired jurist to administer justice.  In evaluating the information to be provided to defendants prosecuted before Camp, we have taken a broad view and are providing the information regardless of whether it has a legal impact on the cases adjudicated before Camp. We are committed to doing everything within our power to ensure that all defendants are treated with the fairness and integrity guaranteed by our system of justice.

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This type of information has clearly brought into question whether justice was actually fairly given to the people that went before former Senior Judge Jack Camp. Although the time frame mentioned in US Attorney Yates’s statement cover a certain period of time; what is to say that this judge has not been a) using drugs long before he was caught by law enforcement and b) were people of color treated more harshly when they went him during sentencing?

Some legal experts said the allegations cast a spotlight on Camp’s judicial history, even if most of his cases are not likely to be overturned. 

“He’d been a tough sentencer,” Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, said of Camp. “There’s an element of irony or hypocrisy, but nothing that would be of legal consequence.” 

But Richard Painter, a law professor and ethics expert at the University of Minnesota, said Camp’s cases could be brought up on appeal if the judge is found to have been under the influence of illegal drugs during trial. 

“The general quality of his work ought be looked into,” Painter told AOL News. “If he’s been drugged out during cases, his rulings have been irrational, I would think you would find a certain amount of grounds for appeal.”

Obviously this information will be of extreme importance not only for people who may have been sentenced by Judge Camp but it also may be grounds for a higher court to overturn convictions that were before Judge Camp if it is discovered that racial bias or drugs played a role in any of his decisions.

Looks like Pandora’s black box has just opened…no pun intended!

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