U.S. Attorney investigates possible tainting of Judge Camp’s cases

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced Dec. 2 that her office is continuing to investigate the outcomes of cases administered by discredited U.S. Senior District Judge Jack Camp and whether the sentences he imposed between May and September might have been affected by his admitted drug use or any racial bias. Yates said her office would not object to requests for re-sentencing for cases in which Camp presided during the May-September time frame during which he was using drugs and engaged in a relationship with an Atlanta stripper.

Camp, 67, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of unlawful possession of controlled substances and one count of conversion of government property.

Yates in a statement Dec. 2 pertaining to Camp’s potential impairment due to his admitted drug use or potential racial bias on the bench said, “Our office is recused from the prosecution of Camp, which is being handled by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. While we are recused from the prosecution, we were concerned that there may be facts underlying the charges or learned during the course of the investigation that call into question the manner in which Camp performed his judicial duties and should be disclosed to defendants prosecuted before Camp.” 

“Consequently, we requested that Public Integrity share with our office all information potentially relevant to Camp's discharge of his judicial duties, and we further investigated to determine whether there was additional information that should be disclosed,” Yates said.

Yates said the information her office was making pubic went beyond what was legally required.

Camp’s potential impairment while on the bench is related to his bi-weekly drug use from May through September, Yates said, adding that her office could not produce evidence contradicting Camp’s insistence that his drug use off the bench did not interfere with his court duties.

“During this approximately four-month period, Camp consumed marijuana, powder cocaine, Xanax, Roxicontin and other unknown prescription painkillers.  Both Camp and the individual with whom he consumed the drugs, (Witness 1 - a stripper who worked at Atlanta’s Goldrush Showbar), have stated that these drugs were not consumed together, although some may have been taken while Camp was also consuming alcohol. While Camp's use of these drugs was not limited to weekends, he denies that he used any of these drugs contemporaneously with any court business, and we are currently unaware of any demonstrable evidence to the contrary. We have not discovered evidence of illegal drug use prior to May 2010,” Yates said. 

Yates also noted the potential for racial bias that had surfaced in statements from the Goldrush stripper (Witness 1), stating that Camp disliked a black male (Individual A) with whom Witness 1 also had a personal relationship.

Witness 1 also said Camp had referenced a court case involving a black male and white female codefendant in which he had sentenced the male to 30-40 years because the male had a personal relationship with the female and it reminded him of Witness 1 and Individual A.

“Based upon our review of the information provided by the Clerk of Court and our own best efforts to date, we have identified a case before Camp for re-sentencing during the relevant time that is similar to some aspects of the facts identified by Witness 1, but the Court did not actually impose a new sentence. Our efforts to make a more conclusive determination are continuing,” Yates said.

Citing another incident of potential racial bias, Yates said Witness 1 indicated that Camp described another case where a female defendant reminded Camp of Witness 1, so he gave her a 12-month sentence instead of the suggested 60-month sentence.  

“We identified a case during this period where Camp sentenced a white female defendant to a 15-month prison term instead of the 30-37 months recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines,” Yates said. ”There is also evidence that confirms that Camp consulted with Witness 1 during the relevant period regarding the sentences that he imposed.”

Yates said a review of information provided by the Clerk of Court indicates that the only criminal trial over which Camp presided from May, 2010 forward resulted in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury.

“Our only interest in any case that we have prosecuted before Camp is ensuring that justice is served. To that end, given these disturbing facts and allegations, this office will evaluate any criminal case adjudicated by Camp for impairment or bias that a defendant requests that we review,” Yates said. “Furthermore, from May of 2010 forward, there is evidence that Camp's judicial decision-making process may have been impacted by bias and/or impairment and it has been established that he was involved in criminal conduct during this period. Therefore, we will not object to a defendant's request for a re-sentencing in any case in which the defendant was sentenced during this time.”

Camp will be sentenced in March.