9th Circuit Judge Steps Down Following Sexual Misconduct Accusations

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Alex Kozinski, a prominent voice on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, said today he was retiring immediately in the face of more than a dozen reports of sexual misconduct.

The 67-year-old Kozinski, who served more than three decades on the appeals court, faced allegations that he showed clerks pornography, improperly touched women and kept a chart of his college sexual conquests, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The outspoken judge was a strong presence on the court, espousing quirky positions and displaying a sense of humor that delighted some but that in the end, he said, contributed to his downfall, The Times reported.

The Washington Post first reported the vast majority of allegations against the judge and news of his retirement. Kozinski confirmed he was leaving the bench in a text message to The Times.

He told the Post he was retiring because he could no longer be an effective jurist. Two of his four law clerks resigned last week as reports of his misbehavior escalated on the internet.

The 9th Circuit last weekend called for an investigation into the reports.

Federal judges have lifetime terms and can be removed only by Congress. But the court system can sanction them and pressure them to resign. The probe into the allegations had not yet begun when Kozinski decided to retire.

Though known as conservative, the Reagan appointee considered himself more a libertarian who railed against prosecutorial misconduct.

The Post first reported that a former clerk complained that Kozinski showed her pornography and asked whether it turned her on. She said it did not, and he reportedly said it did nothing for him either.

On Friday, a former law student said he touched her breasts and a law professor said he pinched her and touched her leg, according to The Times.

Photo: Getty Images

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