Attorney asks U.S. chief justice to expedite probe of Waco federal judge

Published: Apr. 27, 2016 at 1:56 PM CDT
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New York attorney Ty Clevenger, who successfully filed a sexual harassment complaint against Waco federal Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., has asked U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to expedite an investigation into an alleged cover up by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a letter, Clevenger asked that Roberts assume responsibility for an investigation into judicial misconduct from 5th Circuit Court Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart, who, Clevenger says, for 18 months has refused to assign the complaint to an investigative panel for study.

Clevenger’s complaint revolves around sexual misconduct by Waco U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., who was reprimanded by the 5th Court last year and forced to step down from hearing any new cases in his court for the period of one year because an investigation showed he groped a female court employee.

As part of the original complaint, Clevenger says then Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth, in Austin, senior judge for the federal Western District of Texas, knew about the original charges against Smith, failed to act.

Hudspeth was allowed to retire from his bench on Jan. 31 in what Clevenger says is an apparent attempt to avoid “the scandal of judicial discipline for covering up Judge Smith shenanigans back in 1998.”

“In other words, it looks like a cover up of a cover up,” Clevenger charges.

Clevenger also address the fact that a Waco lawyer who represented Smith in the misconduct investigation has been singled out for investigation by the State Bar of Texas for disbarment because he represented Smith in the investigation and failed to disclose that to other lawyers who were appearing opposite him in Smith’s court during the investigation.

The state bar routinely would assign the complaint to an evidentiary panel of the bar’s district grievance committee for investigation.

In a letter Clevenger sent to Judge Stewart, he points out that since filing the complaint against White, the state bar has conducted a significant investigation into the issue, while over the same period of time Stewart has failed to appoint an investigator and has done nothing with respect to the collusion between White and Smith.

“…your role as chief judge is limited to determining whether my complaint credibly states violation,” Clevenger writes in a letter dated April 25 to Stewart.

“If so, then you are supposed to appoint a special committee.

“If not, then you are supposed to dismiss my complaint,” Clevenger says.

“At some point, such an unexplained delay becomes judicial misconduct in and of itself,” Clevenger says.

KWTX attempted to reach Stewart by telephone in his New Orleans office on Wednesday, but was unable to do so.

Smith and White both have refused to speak with the media about the complaints since they first were filed.

“In light of the foregoing delays, and the resulting appearance that the 5th Circuit is trying to contain the scope of the scandal, I ask that you transfer (the case) to Chief Justice John Roberts for assignment to another circuit,” Clevenger sways in closing his letter.

In the letter to Roberts dated the same day, Clevenger asks the chief justice to take the case and refer the matter to the FBI and the Department of Justice.