News Roundup

An Alabama judge is accused in an ethics complaint of having an affair with a lawyer who appeared before him in court. The judge, Christopher Kaminski of Coffee County, was also accused of appointing the lawyer to cases and accepting her fee requests as reasonable. He resigned minutes before the complaint was filed. (, WTVY, Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission complaint)

A former inmate once deemed too old to re-offend has been convicted of murder at the age of 77. Albert Flick was convicted Wednesday for fatally stabbing a woman outside a Maine laundromat in 2018. He was previously convicted for fatally stabbing his wife, for stabbing a girlfriend with a fork, and for assaulting a woman in his apartment. The judge who sentenced Flick for the last assault eight years ago said Flick deserved only a four-year sentence because “at some point Mr. Flick is going to age out of his capacity to engage in this conduct.” (The Washington Post, the New York Times)

A Mississippi judge who is also a pastor has been suspended without pay for 30 days for contacting investigators about two pending criminal cases. The judge, Frank Sutton of Hinds County, asked the investigator in one of the cases whether he could “help him out” because he knew the defendant’s family. In the other, Sutton asked about the nature of a marijuana charge against a parishioner’s son. (The Associated Press, Mississippi Supreme Court)

Criminal justice reformers often focus on big-city policing and jails, even as rural jail populations continue to rise. Many of the rural prisoners are awaiting trial in areas where defense attorneys are scarce and there isn’t enough funding for pretrial services and court sessions. (The Atlantic)

Federal jurors in downstate Illinois were unable to agree on the death penalty for a University of Illinois student accused of killing and kidnapping a visiting Chinese scholar in 2017. Brendt Christensen, 30, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility for release. (The Chicago Tribune, U.S. Justice Department)