Waco Federal Judge Reprimanded for Sexual Harassment

, Texas Lawyer


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reprimanded U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco for making "inappropriate, unwanted physical and non-physical sexual advances" toward a court employee in 1998 and stopped his new case assignments for one year as punishment.

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What's being said

  • Liberty Bell

    Is Judge Smith receiving normal pay while he is on reduced work status? That doesn‘t seem like much of a punishment, especially if he doesn‘t think he did something wrong.

  • Robert M. Rosenberg

    I practiced law for thirty five years almost exclusively in the Federal courts in the Fifth Circuit before retiring due to health problems. The day I went on inactive status with the State Bar and withdrew from my pending capital habeas cases was a great relief knowing that I no longer had to put up with the culture of intellectual dishonesty that took over the courts as Reagan and then the Bushes packed the courts with right wing nut cases who could not often demonstrated such a complete lack of empathy for individuals who were harmed by those with authority, be it in the corporate world or in the criminal justice system, that reading opinions issued by both the district courts and the appellate courts often made me wonder whether being a sociopath was part of the unwritten requirements for being appointed to a federal bench. When informed people from other jurisdictions learned I handled death penalty habeas cases and civil rights cases in the Fifth Circuit they looked at me with petty. The make up of the courts in the Fifth Circuit has made it virtually impossible for attorneys who want to handle the kind of cases me and a handful of other attorneys brought to the Federal courts to even consider taking on the cases. This case, and the Sam Kent matter, demonstrate just how morally and intellectually dishonest the rest of the judges in the Fifth Circuit are because this episodes of sexual violence carried out by their brethren are not secrets around the courthouses. If the Fifth Circuit was honest, every plaintiff in a sexual harassment case that was in Sam Kent‘s court or Judge Smith‘s court, that was not allowed to go to trial because their cases were dismissed on motions to dismiss or for summary judgment or where the jury found in their favor only to have their cases reversed on appeal, should be given another opportunity to have their case heard. Every judge on the Fifth Circuit is equally culpable in the corruption because they do not speak up even when they may personally be appalled by the actions of their fellow judges. Shame on all of them. They all need to be impeached.

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