Reggie Walton

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For the baseball player, see Reggie Walton (baseball).
Reggie Walton
Judge-walton-pic.jpg
Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
In office
May 19, 2007 – May 18, 2014
Appointed by John Roberts
Succeeded by James E. Boasberg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 29, 2001
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Stanley Sporkin
Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
In office
1991–2001
Appointed by George H. W. Bush
Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
In office
1981–1989
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Personal details
Born Reggie Barnett Walton
(1949-02-08) February 8, 1949 (age 65)
Donora, Pennsylvania
Alma mater West Virginia State University (BA, 1971)
American University (JD, 1974)
Profession Judge

Reggie Barnett Walton (born February 8, 1949) is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He is the former presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Walton's father worked two jobs in the steel town Donora, Pennsylvania in which the juvenile delinquent Walton appeared in court three times over gang fighting. Walton credits an incident in which a friend nearly killed a rival with an icepick with convincing him to turn towards academics. He won a football scholarship to get his Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia State College in 1971, and then a law degree from The American University, Washington College of Law, in 1974. Judge Walton is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Career[edit]

Walton served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1989 and from 1991 to 2001. He also served as associate director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In 2001, he was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2004, Bush appointed him to chair the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, investigating ways to curb prison rape. In May 2007, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. appointed him to a seat on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[3] His term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ended May 18, 2014.

The Washington Post reported, "fellow judges and lawyers who appear before him say Walton's decisions do not appear to be guided by politics but by a tough-on-crime mentality." Walton is known by local defense attorneys for his extreme churlishness, and as an ill-tempered "long ball hitter" - a judge willing to impose long sentences in order to deter future crimes and who disregards the consequences of his extreme rulings .[3] In fall 2005, the judge was driving his wife and daughter to the airport for a vacation when he came across an assailant attacking a cab driver on the side of the road. Walton tackled the assailant and subdued him until police arrived. The D.C. police spokesperson noted in response, "God bless Judge Walton. I surely wouldn't want to mess with him."[3]

Cases presided over[edit]

Past cases[edit]

United States v. Libby[edit]

Walton also presided over the trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby. On March 6, 2007, the jury convicted Libby of four of the five counts with which he was charged: two counts of perjury, one of obstruction of justice, and one of making false statements to federal investigators.[4] On June 5, 2007, Walton sentenced Libby to 30 months in federal prison and a fine of US$250,000, and, subsequently, he ordered that Libby report to jail without bail pending any appeals.[5] On June 20, 2007, Libby appealed Walton's ruling in federal appeals court.[6] The next day, Walton filed a 30-page expanded ruling, in which he explained his decision to deny Libby bail in more detail.[7]

Walton received several threatening letters after pronouncing sentence on Libby.[8]

Rocket propellant case[edit]

Walton was the presiding judge in Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc. and National Association of Rocketry v. United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a long-running case brought by the 2 largest hobby rocketry organizations, which challenged the inclusion of certain types of solid fuel rocket propellant on the list of "explosives" regulated by the BATFE. On March 16, 2009, Walton ruled in favor of the rocketry organizations.[9]

United States v. Roger Clemens[edit]

On August 30, 2010, USA Today reported that Walton arraigned former major-league pitcher Roger Clemens on charges of lying to Congress (three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury, and one count of obstruction of Congress) about the use of performance-enhancing substances. Pre-trial prosecutors brought a motion of conflict of interest against defense attorney Rusty Hardin for having briefly represented Andy Pettitte, who is an important witness for the government.[10]

On July 14, 2011 Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial over inadmissible evidence shown to jurors. The U.S. District judge said Clemens could not be assured a fair trial after prosecutors showed jurors evidence against his orders in the second day of testimony.

Following the mistrial, the U.S. Attorneys Office brought Clemens to trial once more for perjury. On June 18, 2012, Judge Walton was forced to accepted the jury's unanimous verdict of acquittal, saying, "Mr. Clemens, you are free to go."[11]

Current cases[edit]

Mohammon v. Bush[edit]

Walton presided over Mohammon v. Bush, a set of amalgamated habeas corpus petitions, submitted on behalf of Guantanamo captives.[12]

Hatfill v. John Ashcroft et al.[edit]

Walton has been presiding over the lawsuit that Steven Hatfill filed against former US Attorney General John Ashcroft.[13] Ashcroft publicly described Hatfill as a "Person of interest" in the FBI's investigations into the 2001 anthrax attacks. On March 30, 2007, Walton issued an order warning Hatfill that he may lose his civil lawsuit over the leaks if he does not compel journalists to name their sources and giving Hatfill until April 16, 2007, to decide whether to do so.[14] Hatfill's lawyers have complied with the order, as reported on April 18 by Gerstein, who warns that a "free press battle looms," as

The reporters in jeopardy now are expected to defy Hatfill's subpoenas and any court order to name their sources. ... one critical issue will be whether Judge Walton imposes fines on the news organizations involved. ... A First Amendment battle could possibly be avoided: The government and Dr. Hatfill's lawyers asked Walton to name a mediator to explore a possible settlement of the case. ... No one has been charged in the anthrax attacks, which killed at least five people.[7]

Guantanamo captives' habeas petitions[edit]

On August 21, 2009 Reuters reported that Walton issued a ruling about "hearsay evidence" that applied to all the Guantanamo detainees' habeas petitions before him.[15] Much of the evidence the Department of Justice is presenting the habeas petitions is hearsay evidence.

Walton wrote:

"Even the most widespread rumors are often inaccurate in part if not in whole. The court's only point is that otherwise unreliable hearsay cannot be deemed reliable because there is other unreliable hearsay to the same effect."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shiffman, John; Cooke, Kristina (2013-06-21). "The judges who preside over America's secret court". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-07-01. Twelve of the 14 judges who have served this year on the most secret court in America are Republicans and half are former prosecutors. 
  2. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (2013-06-06). "Fisa chief judge defends integrity of court over Verizon records collection". Washington DC: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-01. In the wake of the Guardian's revelations, Reggie Walton, presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa), said claims that the body was unduly acquiescent to the government's requests for surveillance orders were "absolutely false". 
  3. ^ a b c "Libby Jurist's Career Built on Toughness", The Washington Post, June 5, 2007
  4. ^ "Diary of the Leak Trial", The New York Times, accessed June 23, 2007.
  5. ^ Lewis, Neil A.; Stout, David. "Judge Won't Delay Libby Prison Term", The New York Times, 14 June 2007, accessed 16 June 2007.
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Libby Appeals Sentencing Ruling", New York Times, 20 June 2007, accessed 20 June 2007.
  7. ^ a b Gerstein, Josh. "Libby Judge Files Expanded Opinion: Details Decision Not Allowing Libby to Remain Free", New York Sun, June 22, 2007, accessed June 22, 2007.
  8. ^ Markon, Jerry (2009-05-25). "Threats to Judges, Prosecutors Soaring". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved May 25, 2009. The judge in the CIA leak case got threatening letters when he ordered Vice President Richard B. Cheney's former chief of staff to prison. 
  9. ^ "Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry v. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms" (PDF). United States District Court for the District of Columbia. March 16, 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Katie. "Clemens’s Co-Counsel to Question Pettitte" The New York Times. February 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Brady, Erik (2012-06-18). "Roger Clemens acquitted on all counts: 'You are free to go'". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  12. ^ "Exhibit C: List of No Longer Enemy Combant Detainees With Pending Habeas Corpus Petitions Who Have Been Released From United States Custody" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. April 17, 2007. p. 64. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  13. ^ "Anthrax 'person of interest' sues Ashcroft, FBI", CNN, 27 August 2003.
  14. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "Judge Urges Hatfill To Compel Outing of Sources", The New York Sun, April 4, 2007, accessed June 23, 2007.
  15. ^ Pelofsky, Jeremy (2009-08-19). "Obama Admin to Transfer Six Guantanamo Prisoners". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 

External links[edit]

  • USCourts.gov - 'Judge Reggie B. Walton' (official US Court biography)
  • RawStory.com - 'Former FBI whistleblower files against judge in Libby trial over secrecy issues', Ron Brynaert, Raw Story (March 22, 2006)
  • Slate.com - 'Free Scooter Libby: The case gets weirder by the day,' By Christopher Hitchens (June 18, 2007)