According to a recent news article from AL.com, a federal judge who presides over the court in Alabama has recently tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama. It is suggested his resignation was a direct result of the domestic violence charges filed against him last year in connection with an alleged assault of his then wife in an Atlanta hotel.
The judge was arrested on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery in a domestic violence context. Media reports indicate he was not convicted of any charges in connection with the allegations, as he entered into a pretrial diversion deal. He was required to undergo counseling and participate in a domestic violence intervention program. After completing the pretrial diversion, his case was dismissed, and the court allowed his record to be sealed.
Despite the sealing of his record, the judicial code of ethics required him to report his arrest to the federal court system. Following his arrest, all of the cases over which he was presiding were reassigned to other judges, and he was placed on paid administrative leave.
At this point, various public officials called for this judge to resign, as they believed he was no longer fit to preside over federal cases or serve as a federal judge in any other capacity. These officials said that, if he did not resign, they would pursue a formal impeachment, where they would seek a conviction that required he be removed from office. They said, by resigning, he had spared his family any more embarrassment and spared the country the expenses of holding an impeachment proceeding, which can require a significant investigation and lengthily hearings.
As our Birmingham domestic violence defense attorneys can explain, domestic violations charges are in many ways worse than other offenses, even when those other offenses may carry a much more substantial sentence in terms of maximum prison time. One of the reasons for this is that there is social stigma often associated with domestic violence, even when it involves the same conduct of other non-domestic criminal offenses.
For example, if a defendant gets drunk and allegedly starts a fight at a local bar, he or she may be charged with assault. While there is always a certain stigma associate with being accused of a crime, many people will brush off the stigma buy figuring the guy may just have a bad temper, or the other guy was really provoking him, or something to that effect.
On the other hand, if someone is accused of getting drunk and hitting his wife, it is highly probable friends, family and especially employers and coworkers of the suspect are unlikely to be as forgiving with allegations of this nature. It is important to understand many people may have these negative feelings, even if the case does not result in a conviction. For that reason, you want to make sure your attorney is truly willing to listen to your side of the story and to fight these serious allegations to the fullest extent possible within the confines of the situation.