- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - The conduct of an Alabama federal judge who announced his resignation months after being arrested on a spousal abuse charge is being referred to a federal judicial conference.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller’s conduct “might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment under article II of the Constitution,” the Judicial Council of the U.S. 11th Circuit wrote in an order filed Monday.

Police arrested Fuller on a misdemeanor battery charge in August after his then-wife, Kelli Fuller, called police to the couple’s room at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. Under an agreement with prosecutors, the charge was dismissed and Fuller’s record was expunged following about six months of once-a-week group counseling sessions.

Kelli Fuller told police that her husband became violent when she accused him of cheating, pulling her hair, throwing her to the ground, and kicking her. Mark Fuller told officers he threw her to the ground to defend himself after she threw a drink glass at him while he watched television. A police report stated that Kelli Fuller “answered the door in tears” and had visible cuts on her mouth and forehead when police arrived.

Fuller, 56, on Friday announced his resignation from the bench effective Aug. 1.

His attorney, Barry Ragsdale, could not be immediately reached for comment regarding the judicial council’s findings.

Federal judges have lifetime appointments and can only be removed by impeachment. A judicial committee reviewed the incident, hearing from dozens of witnesses behind closed doors.

The brief order signed by Acting Chief Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat did not elaborate on the reasons, but said the special committee found that Fuller’s actions could warrant impeachment.

The judicial council, a panel of 18 judges, unanimously agreed to uphold the findings of the committee, Tjoflat wrote. One judge did not participate in the case. Tjoflat said the council declined to dismiss the complaints against Fuller and the matter has been referred to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which crafts policies for federal courts.

Fuller was appointed to the bench in 2002 by then-President George W. Bush.

He is perhaps best known for presiding over the 2006 public corruption trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

A jury found Siegelman and Scrushy guilty of striking a deal to sell an appointment to a state regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman’s 1999 campaign to establish a state lottery.

Fuller announced his resignation Friday. Police arrested Fuller on a misdemeanor battery charge in August after his then-wife called police to the couple’s room at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta.

Fuller’s resignation came after months of review by a judicial panel and calls from Republican and Democratic politicians for him to resign.

Chandler reported from Montgomery, Alabama.

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