It appears as though today is domestic violence day in news-land, and it's not just Ray Rice.
This is Federal District Court Judge Mark Fuller. Fuller is best known for being the judge who presided over the corruption trial of former Democratic Alabama governor Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. There have been serious questions raised since that trial as to whether or not Siegelman was wrongly convicted.
Judge Fuller will be able to have his record expunged of his arrest for domestic violence just as soon as he complies with the orders of the court. ThinkProgress:
Last month, Federal District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges after he allegedly assaulted his wife at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta. Fuller is a George W. Bush-appointee to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. His wife reportedly had visible cuts at the time of his arrest.
Fuller, however, will almost certainly escape this incident with a clean record. On Friday, Fuller agreed to a plea bargain requiring him to “undergo a once a week family and domestic violence program for 24 weeks.”
He will also need to be evaluated to determine if he has a drug or alcohol problem. Once he completes these requirements, the record of his arrest will be expunged.
As an added bonus, he won't lose his job or even be in danger of losing his job, since Congress would have to impeach him.
If you will permit me a short rant, one which applies to any domestic abuse case, whether it's Ray Rice or Mark Fuller.
Our laws are incredibly screwed up when it comes to domestic violence. We still live in the dark ages where it's just fine for a man to put his hands on a woman and hurt her, shove her, even punch her in the face until she's unconscious, and then turn around and enter a program for family and domestic violence.
Whoever thinks it's a good idea to trade attendance at a "program" for a record of a domestic violence arrest is two brain cells short of a moron. Avoiding prison is one thing. Expunging a record of even the arrest is another. It's wrong.
Before I start hearing about how abusive women can be, and how they can be just as violent, just stop. I don't condone women being violent against men either, but most domestic violence is men hitting women. 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence. One in FOUR. 25 percent.
Domestic violence is insidious. The memories of that fist coming down on your face, on your body, being shoved, thrown, stomped on and trampled never go away. They are with you forever and ever and they change a person.
Yet, IF they are arrested and IF the victim is believed and IF it actually results in charges, it can all be expunged with an hour a week in a class.
Screw that. I don't want this judge to go to jail, necessarily, but like Rice, he should be immediately ineligible to be a judge and he shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the bench again. Period. And that's after he pays the fine and goes to his classes.
There are some really screwed-up priorities in this country.
We don't have a videotape of this one but we don't need one. Here's a report just published after he was arrested:
Police say the judge was on the bed when they entered the room, which smelled of alcohol. There was broken glass and hair on the floor. Blood was discovered in the bathroom.
Kelli Fuller told police that her husband became violent after she accused him of having an affair with a law clerk in his Montgomery, Alabama, office. She said he pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and dragged her, kicked her and struck her several times in the face.
Mark Fuller told police that his wife became violent as she confronted him with allegations of cheating. The judge told police he was watching television when his wife threw a drink glass at him. He told officers that he grabbed her hair and threw her to the ground to defend himself. Mark Fuller had no visible injuries, the report said.
Classic domestic violence scene right there. She's beaten all to hell and he claims she attacked him.
He's not fit for the bench.