Professor testifies about impeachment of judge

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Charles G. Geyh appeared before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday as a witness in its hearing on the possible impeachment of U.S. District Judge Thomas G. Porteous of New Orleans. This is the second time in less than a week the professor has appeared before the House.

In his testimony Tuesday, Geyh delivered his opinion on what he called "ethical concerns of the most extreme sort" by Judge Porteous. The judge is accused of accepting cash and other gifts from attorneys who appeared before his court. Judge Porteous also refused to recuse himself from a case where the defendant had a close relationship with the judge's friend.

Geyh testified Judge Porteous' conduct entailed a gross abuse of judicial power that showed a complete disregard for the core ethical qualities a judge should display.

"Having improperly solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer while he was representing a party in a case pending before him, the need for Judge Porteous to disqualify himself was even more plain, rendering his erroneous failure to withdraw more obviously willful," Geyh said. "It is utterly inconceivable that a reasonable person would not question the impartiality of a judge who solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer in a pending matter."

Geyh was one of three national experts called to testify during Tuesday's hearing. He also testified regarding judicial disqualification before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Dec. 10.

If Judge Porteous is impeached by the House, it would be the first time in more than 20 years a federal judge was impeached. The U.S. Senate would then hold a trial to determine whether the judge should be removed.


Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.