Former judge's prison furlough plans foiled

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent leaves the federal courthouse following his arraignment Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009 in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
July 30, 2011 1:12:54 PM PDT
Former U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent -- sentenced to 33 months in prison in 2009 for obstruction of justice -- was set to be released on furlough to attend his daughter's wedding in Houston on Saturday, but his lawyer's office said officials in Washington stopped that from happening. According to the office of Kent's attorney Dick DeGuerin, Kent was ordered to surrender to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Until Friday, an arrangement had been worked out "weeks in advance" to attend his daughter's wedding, DeGuerin's associate Sean Buckley said.

"Officials working with him were satisfied with his accountability, but someone in Washington became upset with a report out of Houston questioning his release. The Washington person then overrode the decision and demanded his being taken into custody," Buckley said.

Kent, 62, pleaded guilty in 2009. He admitted he'd lied to 5th Circuit Court of Appeals officials who were assigned to investigate sexual assault allegations against Kent. According to court documents, Kent was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting two female federal court employees assigned to his court in Galveston.

In a violation of Bureau of Prison policy, officials said neither of his victims received advance notification of his furlough to Houston for the wedding.

"Kent is heartbroken as his daughter with today's outcome. Her wedding was today, and the family says this was a total fiasco for them," Buckley said.

Kent has served 25 months of his sentence behind bars. He will be released in November after serving 29 months, records state.

The remainder of his sentence will be served under confinement at his home in the Fort Davis area of West Texas. It is unclear when he will be transferred.


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