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June 19, 2009

House Impeaches U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Friday, June 19, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

House Impeaches U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent

Schiff and Goodlatte to serve as lead impeachment managers during Senate trial

Washington, D.C. – Today on the House Floor, House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and ranking member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), presented the case for impeachment of Judge Samuel B. Kent to the full House.  After the presentation, the House unanimously approved four impeachment articles relating to Judge Kent.  The articles of impeachment included two articles based on sexual assault, and two others based on obstruction of justice. Following the impeachment vote, Reps. Schiff and Goodlatte were named the lead impeachment managers for the Senate trial.

“It is regrettable that we must use the extraordinary remedy of impeachment to remove a member of the federal bench,” said Schiff.  “But Judge Kent's deplorable conduct leaves us no alternative. That he would still cling to the bench from the confines of his prison cell, and ask the public whose trust he has already betrayed to continue paying his salary, demonstrates how little regard he has for the institution he was supposed to serve.” 

“It is a rare occasion when the House of Representatives must vote on articles of impeachment against a federal judge,” said Goodlatte.  “However, when evidence emerges that an individual is abusing his judicial office for his own advantage, the integrity of the judicial system becomes compromised, and the House of Representatives has the duty to investigate the matter and take the appropriate actions to end the abuse and restore confidence in the judicial system.  Despite the fact that Judge Kent pled guilty and is currently in jail, he did not resign from his office which allows him to continue collecting his taxpayer-funded salary.  The Congress will not sit idly by and allow Judge Kent to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American people.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, Judge Kent is only the 14th federal judge in the nation’s history to be the focus of an impeachment in the House.  Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment and the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the four articles of impeachment. Now that the full House has passed these articles of impeachment, a trial for Judge Kent’s removal will be held in the Senate.  As the lead impeachment managers, Reps. Schiff and Goodlatte will make the case in the Senate for Judge Kent’s removal.

In February 2009, Judge Kent plead guilty to Obstruction of Justice.  As part of his plea, he admitted to engaging in non-consensual sexual contact with two court employees.   Judge Kent also admitted that he falsely testified before the Special Investigative Committee of the Fifth Circuit regarding his unwanted sexual contact with one of the women. On May 11, 2009, Judge Kent was sentenced to a term of 33 months in prison and ordered to pay fines and restitution.  Judge Kent began serving his term of incarceration on June 15th.