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Our view: Impeach Mark Fuller

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Over the last week, Americans have been inundated with opportunities to watch a video clip of a professional football player punching out his then-girlfriend – now wife – in an elevator, then dragging her limp body halfway out elevator car like a rag doll.

The resulting outrage caused the NFL to ostracize former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice from the game. We say former player, because the Ravens released Rice. Never mind that he was just suspended for a couple of games after he reported the incident; in the backlash following the release of footage showing the brutality of a man striking his mate, Rice was seen as unfit for a sport built on brutality.

The Rice incident makes us wonder: If there were video footage of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room, would he still get the kid-glove treatment he received in court last week?

Fuller was arrested after his wife called police to their hotel room on Aug. 9 saying her husband was beating her. The dispatcher said they could hear him hitting her. Police arrived to find Mrs. Fuller bruised and bloodied, hair pulled out, broken glass in the room.

The federal judge’s case went to pre-trial diversion, where he got a deal – complete 24 weeks of counseling and the record will be expunged. Since federal judges are appointed for life, it’s likely that he’ll return to the bench to sit in judgment of others who will surely be treated more harshly.

It’s an outrageous turn of events, because despite what some may argue, this matter is far from a private family issue. Domestic violence is a despicable crime and should be treated with serious consequences – especially when committed by some who should be held to a higher standard.

Ray Rice has been barred from the gridiron. Mark Fuller should be barred from the courtroom, as the threshold for character and good judgment should be far higher than that of the NFL. Fuller has proved that his judgment is faulty and his character is flawed, and while it’s admirable that he’s willing to work on these personal issues, it’s clear that he has no business presiding over a federal courtroom. Removing him from the bench is a job for Congress, which must impeach him. There should be no question about it.

We call on our lawmakers to initiate these proceedings at the first opportunity to maintain the integrity of the U.S. Judicial District of Alabama. To do otherwise sends the wrong message to thousands of victims of domestic violence who suffer greatly at the hands of their loved ones every single day.

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