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Prominent US Judge Retires Amid Sex Misconduct Accusations

18 Décembre 2017

The newspaper's first report on December 8 details accusations from six women, all former clerks or junior staff members, who alleged the judge had made sexual comments or acted inappropriately, including hugging and kissing them.

Alex Kozinski, a distinguished federal appeals court judge, announced his retirement Monday, effective immediately, after sexual misconduct allegations continued to dog the once-respected justice.

Christine Miller, a retired U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge, said Kozinski grabbed her breasts during a auto ride in 1986 after a legal community function in the Baltimore area. "Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary", Kozinski wrote in the statement, released by his lawyer. "I truly enjoy what I am doing and I plan to continue making a contribution as a senior judge", Smith, of Pocatello, wrote in a letter to the president notifying him of his decision.

In his announcement, Kozinski praised the successes of his former clerks.

The initiation of a complaint is not a finding of wrongdoing.

Kozinski's statement said he has "always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike" and "may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace".

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"It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent", he said. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts transferred the formal investigation to the federal appeals court based in NY following a request from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas.

Kozinski, a libertarian known for writing colorful opinions, was first appointed to the 9th Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

In a 2010 dissenting opinion, Kozinski wrote it was unconstitutional for police officers to use a Global Positioning System device to track a criminal suspect. That gives President Donald Trump potentially seven seats to fill on the largest and most liberal appeals court in the country. The U.S. Supreme Court in December allowed the latest version of the travel ban to go into effect. Kozinski initially told the Times that the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public.

Murphy, now a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, said in an email that power dynamics in the legal community make it "very challenging" to speak out about a sitting judge.

"I am fortunate to work with wonderful colleagues and an outstanding staff".

Prominent US Judge Retires Amid Sex Misconduct Accusations