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Welcome to the Bay State, Judge Kent

Massachusetts gets a dubious distinction today -- it becomes the new home of the first federal judge to go to prison since 1991. Samuel Kent, who sat as a federal district judge in Galveston, Texas, before pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, has been ordered to report by 2 p.m. today to the Devens Federal Medical Center in Ayer, about 40 miles west of Boston.

Kent was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for lying to a judicial panel about his repeated sexual molestation of two former female court employees. The Devens prison has facilities for inmates requiring long-term medical or mental health care, which Kent requested, according to the Houston Chronicle.

While serving his time, Kent will be well compensated. As a federal judge with lifetime tenure, he continues to draw his judicial salary of $174,000 a year plus benefits. He submitted his resignation from the bench but made it effective June 2010, which gets him another year's pay. That prompted the New York Times to urge in an editorial that Congress act quickly to impeach Kent and get him off the government payroll.

Meanwhile, Ashby Jones at the WSJ Law Blog finds that Kent, as someone who once was in charge of sending people to prison, is likely to be segregated from the general prisoner population at Devens. Jones also finds that Devens is known as a prison that offers a variety of indoor and outdoor recreational activities, from hobbycraft programs to music rooms.

So as Kent receives his comfortable salary and checks out the prison's various recreational programs, hard time might not sound so hard. But as a Massachusetts resident myself, I need only one word to convey my certainty that this former resident of Texas will at least partially pay for his wrongdoing: Winter. Welcome to Massachusetts, Judge Kent. I hope you brought warm clothes.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 15, 2009 at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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