Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recommended impeachment of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of Galveston for criminal misconduct and rejected his bid to be certified as disabled, the Houston Chronicle reports. A disabled classification would have allowed the 59-year-old judge to retire with full salary, though that likely would not have spared him from potential impeachment. Kent continues to collect his annual $174,000 pay until he resigns or is removed by Congress.
Chief Judge Edith Jones said Kent's alcoholism was a “catalyst” for some of his criminal misbehavior. She said his admitted misconduct rendered him ineligible to ever return to service, as disabled judges often do. Two weeks ago, Kent pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to Jones and other federal judges who in 2007 investigated complaints that he repeatedly molested former female employees. Kent also admitted to sexually abusing two women as part of his plea earlier this year. He begins a 33-month prison sentence in June.