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Archive for October 8th, 2010

Take all the robes of all the good judges that have ever lived on the face of the earth, and they would not be large enough to cover the iniquity of one corrupt judge. –  Henry Ward Beecher

This came to my attention Wednesday; it is paraphrased from an AP article, but required much more extensive rewriting than usual to bring out important facts which were cleverly buried in the depths of the article. It is rare to see such a fine example of a story in which there are absolutely no good guys, but I’ll discuss that afterward.

Senior Judge Jack T. Camp, 67, of Atlanta, Georgia was arrested by the F.B.I. Friday (October 1st) and charged with various gun and drug charges after the agency used a stripper to entrap him.  The judge became enamored of the unnamed stripper sometime earlier this year after he got a lap dance from her at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta; he returned the next day for more dances, then soon started paying her for sex and later cocaine.  Sometime during this period the F.B.I. approached her with a deal to drop outstanding felony drug charges against her if she helped them by betraying her client into a setup.

Camp, a veteran federal judge who had achieved a status that allowed him a lighter caseload, now finds himself in the same position before another judge as so many people stood in before him; he has a reputation for handing out stiff sentences, especially in drug cases.  He of course intends to plead not guilty, but his arrest has set dozens of lawyers to combing through his decisions, wondering whether they have grounds to challenge them.  “I don’t know whether the allegations are true or whether they infected the decision making, but it’s incumbent upon me to raise these issues,” said Gerry Weber, a civil rights attorney.

The dancer attests that for a few months after meeting her Camp regularly used cocaine and other drugs with her, sometimes at the club, and that he would pay $40 to $50 to join her in getting high.  In June, he even followed her to a house in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta to buy drugs, carrying a semiautomatic handgun with him he later told her he brought to protect her, she said.

Then on October 1st, Camp told her he would try to help with her criminal record and advised her to tell a potential employer who had rejected her application that “it was a minor offense and that one of the judges on the court can explain that to him,” according to the affidavit.  A few hours later, she asked Camp to follow her to the Publix grocery store parking lot in northeast Atlanta to meet a drug dealer.  When she said she feared for her safety, authorities said he responded with a dash of bravado:  “I not only have my little pistol, I’ve got my big pistol so, uh, we’ll take care of any problems that come up.”  He then gave the stripper $160 to buy the drugs from an F.B.I. agent posing as a drug dealer, who told Camp he had given the two a few extra pills; the judge sounded pleased and told him “We’ll call you again.”  They then drove to a nearby night club called the Velvet Room, where about 10 minutes later FBI agents swarmed all over his car and recovered the plastic bag containing blue pills and cocaine they themselves had sold him, along with two guns from his front seat.

Not only has the case shocked the legal community, but also has created a conflict-of-interest nightmare.  For Camp’s bail hearing, prosecutors had to be flown in from Washington and a magistrate brought from Alabama because the local judges were forced to recuse themselves from the case.  And since Camp supervised several cases while under investigation his decisions in those cases may be revisited.  Among them was the April trial of a pilot charged with shipping cocaine for drug traffickers; a jury acquitted him despite prosecutorial shenanigans which included carting 174 kilograms of cocaine out in front of the jury several times.  “If you could establish that a judge was under the influence of some substance at the time he presided or ruled, then you could conceive of a basis for a challenge,” said Pete Donaldson, a criminal defense attorney based in Albany, Georgia.  “You can envision all manner of circumstances where that might come into play.”

The judge grew up on a working farm in rural Coweta County, and he enjoyed talking to colleagues about raising timber, pumpkins and cows on a plot of land he still owns.  During his more than two decades on the federal bench, he hated when attorneys grandstanded and sometimes required them to cite the specific federal code when they dared raise an objection.  But he always maintained a cordial relationship, said defense attorney Page Pate:  “He was a true Southern gentleman who was definitely tough with defenders — even more so in drug cases.”

At a hearing on Monday (October 4th), the judge was surrounded by four defense attorneys; he flashed a quick smile to his family before being released on a $50,000 bond.  William Morrison, who tried several cases before Camp before becoming his attorney, assured the judge’s family that he was doing fine, and then told reporters Camp would likely take a leave of absence.  “This is really a case between Judge Camp and his wife.  It’s not about Judge Camp being a judge.  It’s about him being a husband,” said Morrison, who added:  “It is not a case about judging.  It’s a case about judgment.”

What a cesspool of depravity; I think we’d all be better off  if every one of these people were sealed up together and left to feed on one another.  We have here a judge who has made a career of throwing the book at people for things that shouldn’t even be criminal, tricked into breaking the same law by a sleazy cokehead stripper who violates both professional ethics and common human decency by betraying a client at the behest of an organization of busybodies determined to ensnare the aforementioned crooked judge into violating a number of laws that shouldn’t even exist.  So he paid a whore, inhaled some plant matter and carried a weapon to protect himself and his female companion; why should I care about this?  Why should anybody care about this?

The only thing the judge did wrong IMHO was to judge other people and condemn them to years of imprisonment for doing things that he himself clearly does not believe to be wrong.  So he’s a huge hypocrite, but so is the stripper for allowing herself to be a Judas goat to entrap a man for things she not only does not believe to be wrong, but was freely allowed to do herself many times in the course of the investigation!  So, it’s not legal to snort coke and whore yourself of your own free will, but it’s OK if the F.B.I. pimps you?  And what about the F.B.I. men?  Does anyone believe that they don’t use drugs and hire hookers?  I have myself been hired by F.B.I. men on multiple occasions (they’re only empowered to act against federal offenses, not local misdemeanors like simple prostitution) and even watched a bigwig in that very organization snort coke right in front of me; when he asked if I wanted some I replied, “You’re kidding, right?”  I’m sure that the F.B.I. has a far higher percentage of dedicated professionals than the average local or state police department, but that doesn’t change the fact that large numbers of them (including a number of those who entrapped Judge Camp) are guilty of exactly the same offenses.

I can prove it:  The very possession of cocaine is against the law; one does not have to be caught using it.  Under current drug law, if I pick up a hitchhiker and we later get stopped by a cop who searches her purse and finds crack inside, I can be charged with “possession” because it’s my car.  If it’s more than a certain amount, the government can seize EVERYTHING I OWN under the so-called “drug lord law”.  So any F.B.I. agent who touched the bag with the “bait” cocaine, or carried a container in which it rode, is equally guilty of “possession”.  That’s the problem with asinine “possession” laws; they’re based on the primitive notion that an inanimate object can be intrinsically evil, and that anyone who contacts that object, willingly or otherwise, is contaminated.  If I hurl a taboo object at a tribesman with such beliefs and it hits him in the shoulder, he is equally “unclean” as if he had picked it up himself.  And if a cop plants illegal drugs on someone and then conveniently “finds” them, the victim is just as guilty as if he was observed to take them and tested positive for their influence.  Only those modern shamans, cops and government agents, are granted magical immunity from the “crime” of touching “evil” objects, which makes these laws just as hypocritical and filthy as everything else in this story.

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