Federal Judge Sentenced to Almost 3 Years for Obstruction of Justice

By Kevin Fayle on May 11, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After many years on the bench, and many sentences delivered, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent had to sit on the other side of the courtroom today and listen to a judge hand down a 33 month sentence against him for obstruction of justice during an investigation into alleged sexual abuse.

Two former workers at the Galveston courthouse where Kent sat as a district judge claimed that Kent had engaged in non-consensual sexual contact with them.  A federal grand jury indicted Kent on sexual abuse and obstruction of justice charges last August.
Kent eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in February and retired from his seat on the bench.  His sentence could have added up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors were bound by the terms of the plea agreement not to pursue a sentence longer than three years.

The judge also fined Kent $1,000 and ordered him to pay $6,550 to the victims of his abuse.  While in prison, Kent must attend an alcohol abuse program.

The top members of the House Judiciary Committee from each party joined together in calling for Kent's resignation from the bench after the verdict was announced.  Kent retired claiming a disability rather than resigning after his guilty plea which entitles him to receive his $169,300 yearly salary for life. 

Judges who retire receive the yearly salaries, but judges who resign do not.

The Representatives stated that, if Kent does not resign, they will begin an inquiry into whether there are grounds for impeachment.

See Also:
Federal judge sentenced to prison (USATODAY.com)
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