Former senior U.S. District Judge Jack Camp's judicial decision-making process could have been impaired by drugs or racial bias and aggrieved defendants could request re-sentencing, federal prosecutors have suggested.
According to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, anyone who has been sentenced in May through September by Camp and seeks re-sentencing will not be opposed.
Camp was arrested on Oct. 1 by FBI agents, who were tipped off by an exotic dancer at an Atlanta strip club that Camp had purchased drugs from her and they had sex and used drugs together.
At the time of his arrest, the FBI agents also found two firearms - a .380 Sig Sauer and a Colt MK IV - in the front seat of the judge's car.
The judge was charged with unlawful purchase, possession and use of cocaine, marijuana, Hydrocodone and Roxycodone and illegal possession of firearms.
On Nov. 19, Camp pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, a judge from Washington who was assigned the case.
Camp pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful possession of controlled substances and also helping the stripper, a convicted felon, come into possession of the drugs.
The judge also pleaded guilty to giving a government laptop to the stripper. The charges carry up to four years in prison.
However, Camp, who has also submitted his resignation from the bench to U.S. District Chief Judge Julie E. Carnes, is likely to face four to ten months in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000 under the plea agreement.
According to Yates, Camp could have sentenced people under the influence of drugs because there is no evidence that his use of the drugs was limited only to weekends. And though Camp 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, Yates said. However, the prosecutors have discovered no evidence of illegal drug use prior to May 2010.
Yates said the stripper had told prosecutors that the judge had told her he found it difficult sentencing black men because they reminded him of an African-American man who had developed a personal relationship with her.
According to the stripper, Camp had told her about a particular case in his court involving an African-American male and a 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 the stripper, who is white, and the African-American man Camp didn't like.
The stripper also said Camp had described a case where a female defendant the judge of the stripper and 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 (stripper) during the relevant period regarding the sentences that he imposed, Yates said in a statement.
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, Yates said.
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, she concluded.
Camp's lawyer Bill Morrison, however, has denied that the judge was racially biased or was under the influence of drug during court business.
While Mr. Camp understands the government must take appropriate steps to ensure our judicial system is free of bias, none occurred in Judge Camp's courtroom, Morrison said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Camp's sentencing is scheduled for March 4, 2011.