BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama congresswoman said she will begin impeachment proceedings against a federal judge arrested a fight at a hotel with his wife unless he resigns before Congress returns next month.
Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, said in an opinion piece published Friday she cannot fight violence against women if she overlooks accusations against U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery.
Congress returns to Washington on Nov. 12, and Sewell said she will start work to impeach Fuller if he hasn't resigned before then.
"This process will be long, and it will be daunting," she wrote. "Even more daunting, however, is the crisis of domestic violence."
Fuller, 55, was arrested in August after a fight with his wife at the Atlanta hotel but avoided prosecution by entering a court-approved program.
A judicial committee within the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is investigating a complaint of misconduct against Fuller. While federal judges receive lifetime appointments and can be forcefully removed only by impeachment, the committee could request Fuller's resignation.
Barry Ragsdale, an attorney for the judge, said Fuller planned to see the 11th Circuit procedure through "to its natural conclusion."
"There is currently an ongoing investigation under into this matter," he said. "It is disappointing and surprising that Congresswoman Sewell would try to interfere with that legal process for the sake of a political stunt."
Sewell, Alabama's two U.S. senators and the governor are among those who have called for Fuller to quit.
Appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, Fuller has served in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery since 2002. He is still receiving his salary of almost $200,000 but he was stripped of all his cases following his arrest.