Governor, senators want Fuller to resign

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The chorus for U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery to resign after the beating of his wife in an Atlanta hotel room and after being sentenced to enter a pre-trial diversion program last week has begun.

Keili Fuller, his wife, made a call from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta reporting she was being beaten by her husband. “Help me, please. Please, help me. He’s beating on me,” she told the dispatcher from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta. “I hate you, too,” a man’s voice could be heard in response.

Sen. Richard Shelby issued this statement: “The American people’s trust in our judicial system depends on the character and integrity of those who have the distinction and honor of sitting on the bench and I believe Judge Mark Fuller has lost the confidence of his colleagues and the people of the state of Alabama and I urge him to resign immediately.” He was joined in the request for Fuller’s resignation by Sen. Jeff Sessions and U. S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham.

Former federal judge and Cumberland Law School Dean John Carroll said it’s a huge development for both senators, whose votes helped appoint Fuller, to call for his resignation. “I’m not sure he can function as judge if he ignores all these calls for resignation and continues on,” Carroll said earlier this week.

Carroll suggests Fuller should see the handwriting on the wall and expects it will be almost impossible for him to return to the bench.

Gov. Robert Bentley also called for Fuller’s resignation last week and U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said that “domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug.”

Fuller has agreed to enter a pre-trial diversion program where he will undergo counseling and be examined for drug or alcohol abuse. If he successfully completes this program, he could avoid prosecution.

Fifteen U. S. judges, including one U. S. Supreme Court Justice, have been tried and impeached by Congress.

Since the impeachment process requires a trial by the U. S. Senate and federal judges’ tenure cannot be changed without the ratifications of three-fourths of the states, federal judges have the best job security available for any public official in the land. The constitution also prohibits Congress to diminish a federal judge’s salary.

As of January 2010, federal district judges were paid $174,000 a year, circuit judges $184,500, Supreme Court associated justices are paid $213,900 and the chief justice $223,500. All are permitted to earn an additional $21,000 a year for teaching. Not a bad gig, but Judge Fuller, I understand doesn’t need the money, and he likely won’t lose his federal pay unless he ends up in prison.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent.