The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is seeking an update on the personnel action involving an Alabama federal judge arrested on a spousal abuse charge in Atlanta now that an investigation into the case apparently is complete.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released a letter Friday asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for information about its probe of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery.
A judicial panel has been reviewing Fuller’s case for months, and some members of Congress are calling for Fuller’s resignation or impeachment.
The letter from Grassley to the court said Congress is interested in seeing the case handled expeditiously.
Atlanta police arrested Fuller in August after Kelli Fuller called 911 saying he was beating her in their hotel room. The two have since divorced, said the judge’s lawyer, Barry Ragsdale.
Fuller reached a plea deal with prosecutors in Atlanta, and the charge was dismissed and Fuller’s record expunged following about six months of once-a-week group counseling sessions, said Ragsdale. Screening for alcohol and drugs dependency showed no problems, according to Ragsdale.
Fuller isn’t currently hearing cases but is still being paid. Grassley said the case needs to be resolved.
“The judge’s alleged actions raise serious questions, and, if true, will significantly undermine his ability to serve in his current capacity,” Grassley said in a statement.
Ragsdale said the investigation into Fuller’s actions is complete after a special committee of judges heard from about two dozen witnesses including Fuller, Kelli Fuller, and his previous wife.
Aside from reviewing what happened the night of Fuller’s arrest, Ragsdale said, the committee considered whether Fuller’s actions were part of a pattern of behavior.
“They went back into things that happened five or six years ago,” Ragsdale said. The final hearing was held Tuesday in Atlanta, he said.
The committee’s report now goes to the 11th Circuit judicial council, which will decide whether to take action against Fuller. Ragsdale said judges didn’t indicate when a decision might come, but Fuller has “complete confidence” in the thoroughness of the report.
Alabama’s two U.S. senators, Republicans Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, have both said the GOP appointee should quit.
Republished with permission from the Associated Press.