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March 23, 2011

"Lawyers ask for review of ex-judge Camp's rulings, sentences"

The title of this post is the headline of this new article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Here are excerpts:

Before he was sentenced for crimes he committed with a stripper, Jack Camp made a striking disclosure: The former federal judge revealed he has long suffered from a misdiagnosed bipolar disorder and brain damage from an accident more than a decade earlier.  The revelations have lawyers wondering whether justice was meted out by an impaired jurist.

“Every case he handled from the time he was misdiagnosed, or before, depending on when he was affected by these conditions, should be re-evaluated,” said Marcia Shein, a Decatur appellate lawyer.  “The question is: Did these conditions affect his ability to be an objective judge making fair decisions?”

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her office will consider requests from defendants concerning Camp’s judgment “to ensure that justice is served.” Over the past decade, Camp handled more than 3,000 cases, but only a small fraction of those is expected to be challenged.

Bill Morrison, one of Camp’s lawyers, said the sentencing memos about Camp’s mental health sought to explain his reckless conduct in that the brain damage compromised his impulse control.  But, he said, “Nothing impaired his ability to fairly and impartially act as a judge; I’m fully prepared to defend any judicial decision he made.”...

Yates had said she would not oppose requests for new hearings from defendants sentenced by Camp during the time he consumed marijuana, cocaine, Xanax and roxicontin.  Of the 16 people sentenced by Camp during that period, five have asked for new hearings.  At least one has received less time.

There is also a question as to whether racial bias may have affected Camp’s judicial decision-making — an allegation Camp denied.  Camp told the stripper that he struggled in deciding criminal cases involving African-American men because she had previously had a relationship with a black man, said Yates, citing interviews....

But the thorny question remains: Should a review be conducted of Camp’s decisions dating to 2000, when a bicycling accident damaged the frontal lobe of his brain?  At about the same time, Camp was diagnosed with depression, although doctors now say he had a bipolar disorder.

Shawn Agharkar, a psychiatrist who teaches at Morehouse and Emory medical schools, said the symptoms of people with these conditions wax and wane.  When asked whether they could significantly impair a person’s judgment, Agharkar said, “Certainly that’s possible.”

Agharkar reviewed Camp’s court filings but noted he had not seen Camp’s medical records or evaluated his decision-making process.  “Just because a person has a bipolar disorder and brain damage, it doesn’t automatically call into question every decision they’ve made,” Agharkar said.  “It has to be considered on a case-by-case basis.”...

Defense attorney Steve Sadow said disclosures that Camp’s judgment may have been impaired could serve as a foundation to court challenges.  “If someone is sitting in prison with a long sentence imposed by Camp, they might as well give it a shot,” he said.  “What have they got to lose?”

March 23, 2011 at 03:25 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Sadly, but all of his cases need to be reviewed...He was high all of the time...Normally the government doesn't backup employees that go to work high on cocaine..Why should should this bozo be any different...He needs his $174K / yr retirement revoked as well.. 30 days..kidding

Posted by: Abe | Mar 23, 2011 4:29:38 PM

I'm sorry, but I can't help but find this hysterically funny. I don't know a lot about Judge Camp, but I haven't seen anything that suggests that he was a wildly erratic sentencer. Which probably means that he's been sentencing people pretty much the same way that most judges have--within the guidelines in most cases. But now it appears that he may have been brain damaged the whole time. So if a brain damaged judge follows the guidelines, or at least current sentencing trends, what exactly would that mean? And what if a non-brain damaged judge sentences people the same way? I guess in the end, we throw up our hands and say the process was flawed and give the defendant a mulligan. I imagine issues of due process don't give the Government the same opportunity to review sentences.

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 24, 2011 12:15:58 AM

This supports the proposition of a standard of due care for all defense lawyers of innocent defendants.

They must demand total e-discovery of the prosecutor, for an improper motive, and of the judge for bias. However, findings of moral turpitude and poor judgment are extra bonus findings to be used to defend the rights of the innocent defendant. All findings should be published to he web, so that future attorneys do not have to start over, but can begin from the endpoints of the other case.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 24, 2011 2:00:05 AM

Thanks for your share,thanks a lot.Good luck!

Posted by: Big pony | Apr 11, 2011 6:17:17 AM

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