As the protracted impeachment trial of U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous draws to a close in the Senate, the local watchdog group Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch has issued a petition in support of his impeachment. Anyone who has followed the trajectory of Judge Porteous’ career and trial knows that he should, and likely will, be impeached. Judge Porteous has been dogged by accusations of all sorts of corruption from accepting bribes to being drunk while in court. The most appalling- and credible- transgression by Porteous, however, is that he habitually set bonds favorable for his friend, former bail-bondsman, Louis Marcotte III in exchange for a plethora of monetary and material favors.
While his dereliction of duty alone justifies impeachment, this measure is also necessary because if he is allowed to retire the taxpayers are on the hook for his lavish retirement plan. Impeachment would not be a vindictive measure, as it would prevent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars from going to support the lofty pension and salaried retirement benefits for a federal judge. Only voting for impeachment can assure that Porteous does not continue to accumulate a $174,000 annual salary for a position which he abused and desecrated.
The Times-Picayune published an effective excoriation of the judge and the culture of corruption he typifies. Noting the dangers of allowing Porteous to remain in office any longer, the editorial provides that, “Judge Porteous has also gamed the system, delaying his possible ousting so he can continue to receive a $174,000 annual salary while doing no work and possibly reach enough years on the bench to secure lifetime pay. That would be a travesty.”
The Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch’s petition to ensure that Judge Porteous is impeached can be found here. Judge Porteous has demonstrated what happens when our justice system is perverted from within. It is now imperative that our justice system exhibit the ability to hold those officials who violate the law fully accountable if we are to restore our faith in this system.