Atlanta court hearing set for federal judge charged with beating wife

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is to be in court Friday and may dispose of the pending misdemeanor charge that he beat up his wife while they were staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta police were dispatched to the high-end hotel late on Saturday, Aug. 9 after the Alabama judge’s wife called 911 to report he was beating her.

Fuller, 55, was arrested and held in jail until the next Monday after posting $5,000 bond on a single misdemeanor battery charge, which carries a maximum punishment of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

And since then, the judge has kept a low profile.

Within two days of the incident at the Ritz becoming public, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which handles cases from Alabama, Georgia and Florida — reassigned Fuller’s cases to other federal judges in the Northern District of Alabama. Fuller also has not been given any new cases.

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Then, the Montgomery-based judge also entered a treatment program, according to his attorney, that could help him when he appears in court Friday.

According to his lawyer, Fuller hopes to resume his duties in the court. He received a lifetime appointment to the bench in 2002 from President George W. Bush.

Almost a month ago when police officers arrived at the Fullers’ hotel room door, they found the judge’s wife had lacerations to her mouth and forehead while Fuller had no visible injuries. According to a police report, Fuller’s wife said he threw her to the ground, pulled her hair and kicked her after she confronted him over an alleged affair her husband was having with a law clerk. Fuller’s wife told police that he dragged her around the room “and hit her several times in the mouth with his hands.”

Fuller told police his wife threw a glass at him and that he was defending himself. “When asked about the lacerations to her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,” the report stated.

According to a transcript of the 911 phone call, Fuller’s wife pleaded for help. “He’s beating on me. Please help me,” the woman tells the dispatcher before requesting an ambulance.

Though this is the first time Fuller has been charged with domestic abuse, it was an issue that was central to his divorce from his previous wife in 2012.

According to court documents filed before the divorce records were sealed, Fuller was asked to detail his use of drugs and how many times he had “hit, kicked or slapped” his now-former wife.

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