In Houston, a Federal Judge was sentenced to 33 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. The Houston Chronicle reports that former Judge Samuel Kent will report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons next month. Kent lied to a judicial committee who was investigating an alleged sexual misconduct allegation against Kent.
Judge Kent’s reputation was well known in the Houston criminal defense community and in the Southern District of Texas. At least in terms of his temperament, Judge Kent’s reputation was not a good one. Federal criminal defense in Houston takes a an experienced lawyer and a tremendous amount of effort. It is complicated as it is, without having to be more difficult. Judge Kent’s demeanor and courtroom antics were the exception and not the rule. I have found that Houston criminal defense work is typically much more civilized than state criminal work.
This incident should be a reminder to all of us, be it Houston criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges. We are all human and we all make mistakes. It is amazing the “holier than thou attitudes” I see every day at the Houston courts. I have seen judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and criminal defense lawyers in Houston, all be on the wrong side of the Bar. Yet, it never seems to change the way we see the citizen accused or even worse, the guilty.
The Chronicle goes on to discuss whether Judge Kent will receive his $174,000 salary. Unless he is impeached, then he is entitled to keep it. You better believe the members of Congress will be salivating to impeach the Judge for nothing more than to get their names in the paper. I am not saying that I think he should receive his retirement, seeing as how he abused his position in more ways than one. Yet, it is just another example of the people judging another without taking into account of their own humanness.