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Michael Phelan
Michael Phelan
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Mild Brain Damage Can Cause Significant Behavioral Changes

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Last June, I blogged about a former federal judge in Atlanta whose behavior was so bizzare (the white-haired grandfather struck up a long-term relationship witha drug dealing stripper and commenced snorting cocaine, taking Roxi, and smoking pot with the stripper after driving her to drug buys) that I dubbed him the "gangsta on the federal bench." The judge, Jack Camp, was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail for the crimes committed with the stripper.

Before he was sentenced, Camp revealed that he suffered from a misdiagnosed bipolar disorder and brain damage from a bicycle accident in 2000. Camp’s lawyer said the revelation sought to explain Camp’s reckless conduct in that the brain damage compromised his impulse control. Citing his brain damage as a mitigating factor, Camp sought probation, but the federal judge Thomas Hogan denied the request, stating that Camp “has denigrated the federal judiciary.” Camp was known to hand out harsh criminal sentences, including in drug cases, and to rarely give breaks to defendants who presented mitigating evidence.

There are two ways to look at Judge Camp. One way, is the way I did in my June 2010 blog- as a giant hypocrit who handed out stiff penalties for drug crimes and then went on a four month coke- snorting, Roxi -popping,weed-smoking bender with a stripper. The second way is to understand that bipolar disorder and/or traumatic brain injuries can cause serious problems with mood swings, changes in personality, impulse control, lack of discretion, and poor judgment.

You be the judge.