The divorce complaint filed against U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller raises a number of troubling issues. But possible drug addiction might be No. 1 on the list.
Lisa Boyd Fuller's complaint includes no shortage of titillating issues, including extramarital affairs and domestic abuse. But those go primarily to Mark Fuller's character outside the courtroom. Drug addiction, however, goes to Fuller's fitness to serve on the federal bench.
It also raises these troubling questions: Has Fuller's mind been clouded by illicit drug use while serving as a judge? Have civil cases been unlawfully decided because the judge was more or less high? Have some citizens, including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, been wrongfully sent to federal prison in part because Mark Fuller was on uppers, downers, painkillers, mind numbers--or some combination of them all.
One fundamental of the American justice system is that a citizen has a right to have his case heard by a judge who does not present even the "appearance of impropriety." A citizen certainly has a right to have his case heard by a judge who isn't impaired. Lisa Boyd Fuller's complaint presents a truckload of apparent impropriety, plus signs that Mark Fuller might qualify as the Keith Richards of the federal bench.
Floyd Minor, Mrs. Fuller's attorney, has filed documents indicating that he intends to subpoena at least six drug stores in the Montgomery area for information about Mark Fuller and prescription drugs. (See Notice of Intent to Serve Subpoenas and Subpoenas at the end of this post.)
If Mark Fuller has been getting prescription drugs from six different pharmacies, what does that mean? My impression is that most Americans, for the sake of convenience, have their prescriptions filled at one or two drug stores. Has Mark Fuller been getting prescriptions filled far and wide for a reason?
All of this hints that parties who've come before Fuller have grounds to file complaints under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, which is codified at 28 U.S. Code 351-364. What is the purpose of the law, and how does it work? Here is a summary:
Any person may file a complaint against a federal judge that has engaged in conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts, or alleging that such judge is unable to discharge all the duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability. The person files the complaint with the Clerk of the nearest Federal Court of Appeals with a written complaint containing a brief statement of the facts constituting such misconduct of disability.
The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta would be the proper venue for complaints against Fuller. I suspect such complaints will be arriving in the clerk's office soon.