- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, arrested last month on a charge of battering his wife, has lost the confidence of his colleagues and others and should quit the lifetime appointment, both of Alabama’s U.S. senators said Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, in comments first made to the Montgomery Advertiser and later released by his office, said trust in the judicial system “depends on the character and integrity of those who have the distinct honor of sitting on the bench.”

“I believe that (Fuller) has lost the confidence of his colleagues and the people of the state of Alabama,” said Shelby. “I urge him to resign immediately.”

An aide said Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said the senator spoke to Fuller on Wednesday.

Later, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions also called for Fuller to step down.

“Judge Fuller’s unacceptable personal conduct violates the trust that has been placed in him,” Sessions said in a statement. “He can no longer effectively serve in his position.”

Previously, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, said Fuller should quit.

An attorney representing Fuller did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Atlanta police arrested the 55-year-old judge from Montgomery on Aug. 10 and charged him with misdemeanor battery after his wife called 911 from a hotel and said he was beating her. Mark Fuller told police his wife became violent as she confronted him with allegations of cheating.

Fuller was put into a pre-trial diversion program that includes domestic violence intervention and he can avoid prosecution if he completes the court-approved program.

Comparing Fuller’s case to the suspension of NFL player Ray Rice, Sewell said the judge had violated the public trust and should step down.

“All acts of domestic violence are unacceptable and should not be tolerated,” said Sewell, D-Birmingham. “No one committing such abusive acts should get a pass. This is especially true for those charged with upholding and enforcing the law.”

Rice was suspended from the league after media outlets showed a video of him striking the woman who is now his wife.

Fuller was stripped of all his cases and is not actively working, but an attorney for Fuller has said he hopes to return to the bench.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is conducting a disciplinary process that could result in a reprimand of Fuller or a request for his resignation. Sewell, an attorney, said she would work to institute Fuller’s impeachment if needed.

“While it is important to allow the disciplinary process to play out, I believe the integrity of the court has already been compromised by Judge Fuller’s actions and subsequent arrest,” she said.

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, has noted that impeachment is a possibility but said the disciplinary process should be allowed to continue.

A nominee of President George W. Bush, Fuller has served in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery since 2002. He is still receiving his salary of almost $200,000 while not presiding over cases.

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