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Federal Judge Appointed by Trump Resigns After Misconduct Allegations

 July 11, 2024

In a startling development from Alaska, federal judge Joshua Kindred has resigned under the weight of serious allegations.

Following a comprehensive investigation, Joshua Kindred stepped down due to claims of misconduct and improper behavior toward his clerks, as Fox News reports.

Kindred, appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2019, began his role as a U.S. District Court judge for Alaska in 2020. His career on the bench, however, has been abruptly curtailed following grievous allegations that surfaced during a Judicial Council investigation.

Investigation Reveals Extensive Misconduct by Judge

On the day of Kindred’s resignation, the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit issued an extensive 30-page report. It detailed various instances of misconduct that compromised the integrity of his office and created a hostile work environment.

Central to the council’s findings was the accusation that Kindred harassed and behaved inappropriately toward his law clerks. This included over 700 pages of text messages which painted a picture of a judge disregarding ethical boundaries.

Among the texts, Kindred also made derogatory jokes about higher court justices and even talked about bringing alcohol and drugs to an office function. His behavior clearly deviated from the decorum expected of his position.

Specific Allegations and Judicial Response

The situation escalated with revelations surrounding Kindred’s treatment of a particular female law clerk. The investigation revealed a personal and sexualized relationship that went beyond professional norms, leading to an allegation of a non-consensual sexual encounter after the clerk's tenure had ended.

Kindred initially denied these incidents outright. It was only under oath that he confessed to some of the allegations, revealing the depths of his misconduct.

The council remarked that whether the sexual encounter at an Airbnb was consensual or not, Kindred’s conduct was already a severe breach of professional ethics.

Hence, the judicial council remarked, "We conclude that Judge Kindred committed misconduct by creating a hostile work environment for his law clerks. That hostile work environment included ‘unwanted, offensive, and abusive sexual conduct, including sexual harassment,'" emphasizing the gravity of the findings.

Resignation and Steps Towards Accountability

Given the severity of these violations, Kindred’s resignation came as a necessary but insufficient step toward rectifying the situation. It occurred suddenly on Monday, as outlined in the Judicial Council’s detailed findings.

The consequences of his actions are far-reaching, prompting the Judicial Council to refer the matter to the Judicial Conference. This body is now considering the severe step of potential impeachment to hold Kindred accountable beyond merely stepping down.

Responding to the situation, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed her determination to ensure such breaches of trust are addressed.

She affirmed, "Judges need to be held to the highest of standards and Mr. Kindred fell well short of that mark. I will be working quickly to advance a replacement nominee for consideration."

National Ramifications on Judicial Integrity

Kindred's case shines a spotlight on the responsibilities and expected conduct of federal judges. This incident challenges the judiciary to reassess how it handles allegations of misconduct within its ranks, ensuring that justice is upheld not just in public cases but also within its corridors.

This case serves as a poignant reminder of the need for continual ethical vigilance and rigorous oversight mechanisms within the judiciary to maintain public confidence and ensure the protection of all employees within the legal system.

In sum, Joshua Kindred resigned from his position amidst profound allegations of creating a hostile work environment, engaging in non-consensual sexual activities with a clerk, and lying about these actions.

His resignation and the subsequent referral for possible impeachment reflect the serious repercussions of such behaviors in the judiciary.