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Friday, March 11, 2011

Ex-Federal Judge Gets 30 Days in Prison for Crimes

Ex-federal judge gets 30 days in prison for crimes
The Associated Press by Greg Bluestein - March 11, 2011

ATLANTA, GA (AP) — A former federal judge who was involved in a scandal involving drugs, guns and a stripper was sentenced Friday to 30 days in prison by a visiting jurist who told him he shamed the profession. Former U.S. District Senior Judge Jack Camp had asked that he be sentenced to community service and probation after he pleaded guilty to charges of using drugs with the stripper and giving her an $825 government laptop. Prosecutors said he should serve between 15 days and six months to repay his debt to society. In the end, Judge Thomas Hogan, a Washington judge flown in to hear the case, said he understood Camp has been forever humiliated and "has a scarlet letter chiseled on his forehead the rest of his life." But he said he couldn't get around the serious misconduct of a high-ranking official. "He has disgraced his position and himself and denigrated his office," Hogan said. "I could not only give him a sentence of probation and spare him confinement." Camp's attorneys said in documents that his decades-long battle with depression and a bicycling accident in 2000 caused brain damage that led him to use drugs and start seeing the stripper in May 2000. But the former judge said at the sentencing hearing that his struggles don't excuse the conduct. "I understand that I have brought it on myself and I am committed to overcome that stigma. I want to pay the debt that I owe and rebuild my reputation," said Camp, who was also ordered to serve one year of probation, pay $1,000 and complete 400 hours of community service. He added: "The only thing I can say is that I'm so very sorry." Prosecutors said there was no denying Camp was a community leader, a family man and a respected jurist before he struck up the relationship with the stripper. But they said he owed a debt to society for conduct that put the integrity of the federal courts at stake. "Mr. Camp engaged in repeated criminal conduct over four months. This was not a one-time thing," said prosecutor Deborah Mayer. "This was not a one-time lapse in impulse control." Camp, who is married with two adult children, is a Vietnam War veteran who was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987. After he started seeing the stripper, prosecutors say he soon began paying her for sex and using drugs with her. Over the next few months, the two used cocaine and other drugs together at strip clubs and other places. In June, prosecutors said he brought a semiautomatic handgun with him when he followed her to a suburban Atlanta home where she was buying drugs. She became a government informant by October, when Camp was arrested in a parking lot by federal agents after he gave the stripper $160 for a drug deal. They also recovered two guns from his front seat and discovered that he gave the stripper his government-issued laptop computer. As part of the plea agreement, he stepped down from the bench and agreed to cooperate with authorities looking into any of the cases he handled while he was being investigated. He could have faced up to four years in federal prison, but prosecutors and defense attorneys acknowledged he was going to receive substantially less time.

The judge's arrest and prosecution created a mess in the busy Northern District of Georgia, which covers metro Atlanta. Hogan, a veteran judge from the District of Columbia, was assigned the case because the other judges recused themselves, and prosecutors from the Justice Department's central office flew in to handle the case. Camp's legal team filed a flurry of legal motions and provided more than a dozen letters urging Hogan to back a sentence of community service and probation instead of jail time. And at the hearing, four longtime friends of Camp, as well as his son Harry, vouched for the ex-judge. Harry Camp said his father was training for a father-son bicycling trip across southern France in 2000 when he got into an accident that left him with broken ribs, a concussion and brain damage that could have worsened his impulse control. After the accident, Harry Camp said the two seemed to grow further apart. He said his father seemed more irritable, troubled and embittered over the next few years. When his father called him in October with the news about his arrest, Harry Camp said "something within me instantly knew it was a part of that internal struggle." But Harry said the arrest had a silver lining: It finally forced his father to get proper treatment of his psychiatric problems. "I admired my dad before he was a judge," he said. "And I admire him still for facing these demons head on, for not shying away from responsibility for his actions in this matter and for persevering so that he may become a better, more whole person in the end."

************************** RELATED STORY:

Ex-judge Camp sentenced to 30 days in prison
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Bill Rankin - March 11, 2011

After telling him he has “a scarlet letter chiseled on his forehead the rest of his life,” a federal judge sentenced disgraced ex-jurist Jack Camp to 30 days in prison for committing repeated crimes with a stripper. “He has disgraced his office,” Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said of Camp, the ex-federal judge from Newnan. “He has denigrated the federal judiciary. He has encouraged disrespect for the law.” Camp, who was arrested Oct. 1 in an undercover drug sting, pleaded for leniency. He asked to be allowed to remain in his home and community to repair his marriage and rebuild his name. “When I look back at the circumstances which brought me here, it makes me sick to think I did them,” he said. “They were illegal, wrong, foolish. … The only thing I can say is that I’m so very sorry.” In court filings, Camp’s lawyers told Hogan that depression and a bipolar disorder as well as brain damage sustained in a 2000 bicycle accident — all exacerbated with improper prescriptions — help explain the ex-judge’s erratic and reckless conduct last year. Camp’s voice broke when he thanked Elizabeth, his wife of 35 years, and his son Harry and daughter Sophie for supporting him. Camp’s son, an Atlanta lawyer, asked Hogan to sentence his father to probation. “My admiration for dad began long before he became a judge,” he said. “And I admire him still for facing these demons head on, for not shying away from responsibility for his actions.” But Hogan, a Washington judge with 29 years’ service on the bench, said he could not get around the fact that a high-ranking government official had committed such serious offenses. He then read aloud the oath of office Camp took 22 years ago in the ceremonial courtroom across the hallway on the 23rd floor of the U.S. courthouse in Atlanta. This included Camp’s pledge, he noted, to follow the law. “Instead, for whatever reasons, the demons he had made him go another way,” Hogan said as Camp, stone-faced, stood before him. At the time of Camp’s arrest, Hogan added, “There was no suggestion this conduct was ending.” Hogan also ordered Camp to serve 400 hours of community service, pay a $1,000 fine and reimburse the government for the cost of its prosecution, which has yet to be determined. Camp will get credit for the weekend he spent in jail after his arrest. Camp said he has been working at a Habitat for Humanity warehouse and would like to help a Coweta County commission that supports Vietnam veterans like himself and assist the local public defender’s office in any way he can, even though he no longer has a law license. Hogan told Camp, who has been free on bond, that he can voluntarily report to a prison once one is designated for him.

Camp, 67, was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He resigned in November shortly before pleading guilty to drug charges and to giving the stripper his $825 government-issued laptop computer. Camp met the exotic dancer at the Goldrush Showbar in May when she did a table dance for him. He was soon paying her for sex and together, they began smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine and a synthetic form of heroin. But by October she had begun cooperating with undercover FBI agents who lured in Camp to help her make a drug deal. He gave her $160 and told her to make the purchase because she already had a criminal record. In a parking lot off of Chamblee Tucker Road, she handed over the cash to the dealer, who was actually an undercover agent. Prosecutor Deborah Sue Mayer of the U.S. Justice Department’s public integrity section reminded Hogan that Camp showed up for the that deal armed with two handguns. One was found in the console of his car and the other was found on the seat with a round in the chamber and the hammer locked, she said. After the deal was consummated — and just before he was arrested — Camp told the undercover agent he’d come calling again for more drugs. “He engaged in repeated criminal conduct over four months,” Mayer said. “This was not a one-time thing. This was not a one-time lapse in impulse control.” In one ruling issued Friday, Hogan found that Camp had not committed a felony, as prosecutors believed he did had when they signed the plea agreement. Instead, Camp committed three misdemeanors, exposing him to a sentence of up to 6 months in prison. Prosecutors asked Hogan to sentence Camp to at least 15 days in prison. Camp’s lawyers asked for probation and community service. Camp said the past few months had been a nightmare for him and said it has been a struggle to go out in public because of his humiliation and shame. “I had worked hard as a judge and earned a respected reputation,” he said. “Now I’ll be known as the judge who disgraced himself at the end of his career."


word to the wise said...

Special treatment to be sure. 30 days?!?!?! You gotta be kidding me. I wonder if black folks from der Georgia who be washin' floors be gettin' only 30 days for drug and gun charges. Don't say you can't understand how people's anger can get out of control.

Anonymous said...

The disgrace to the Federal Judiciary is the sentencing judge.

Anonymous said...

Throw the drug/gun judge AND the make believe sentencing judge in the can for 20 years each.

Anonymous said...

...and thousands of fathers are incarcerated for up to 6 months for a civil matter, without intent, of being unable to maintain a child-support order demanded upon them ...and this seasoned 'law-professional' gets 30 days?

Anonymous said...

The private club works for it's members. No wonder the average citizen wants to just jump up and down. Here is where our tax money goes.

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