Category : racketeering
A retired Louisiana judge, Michael Walker, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of racketeering and corruption. Racketeering is the illegal act of extortion, in which intimidation is used to get individuals or businesses to pay money or perform favors.
Walker wasn’t the only Louisiana judge to face such corruption charges, as his cohort and peer Vernon Claville, a Juvenile Court Judge in the Caddo district, has also been convicted of racketeering and corruption. Claville is expected to be sentenced by mid-October 2008.
Evidence of Corruption
An FBI investigation, officially known as “Broken Gavel,” was responsible for uncovering evidence of Walker and Claville’s corruption earlier this year. According to investigators and prosecutors, Walker and an unnamed bail bondsman would receive cash bribes from defendants in northwest Louisiana in exchange for reduced bonds or expedited arraignments.
During the investigation, the FBI was able to tape phone conversations in which the bail bondsman arranged the bribes. The FBI also videotaped a few instances in which Walker took the bribes. Both pieces of evidence were presented to jurors at the trial.
Following his conviction, Walker officially stepped down from his post as judge. He made no statements during his trial or sentencing hearing.
Other Forms of Judicial Corruption
Unfortunately, this case highlights the taboo and unsettling topic of possible judicial corruption. While many tend to think of corrupt judges as those who simply exchange a ruling for cash (as was the case with Walker and Claville), there are a number of other ways that corruption can shake judicial neutrality.
Some of the most common forms of judicial corruption typically include:
- Denying the admission of certain evidence
- Ignoring or supporting perjury
- Manipulating procedure
- Permitting unsubstantial claims or disregarding valid assertions
These and other acts of judicial corruption are not only unethical but also life altering for those facing criminal charges.
(Source: Find Law News)
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