The attorney whose complaints against judges led to the early retirement of a federal judge in Waco has had his law license suspended in Washington, D.C.
Ty Clevenger, a New York attorney who formerly lived in Dallas, had predicted that he would be disbarred in the District of Columbia after he filed a complaint against a federal judge there who sanctioned him $123,000.
But Clevenger worked out an agreement with the Bar of the District Court for the District of Columbia for a six-month suspension of his law license and a $5,000 fine.
Clevenger, 47, paid the fine and resigned from the D.C. Court, saying he doesn’t want to practice there anymore. The suspension has no bearing on his ability to practice in Texas and other states, Clevenger said, adding that other bar associations looked into the complaints against him in D.C. and took no actions against him.
Considered a marauding, quixotic do-gooder by some, a meddling terrorist with a law degree by others, Clevenger has never been shy about filing complaints against judges, attorneys or anyone else he thinks is deserving of one.
He said the action taken against him in D.C. was in retaliation for his filing a complaint there against a judge and attorneys that he claimed had improper contact about a pending case.
“Fighting judicial corruption is a dangerous business,” Clevenger said. “If you dare to question the gods, most of them will retaliate.”
Officially, the D.C. bar grievance committee charged Clevenger with “engaging in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice,” advancing frivolous claims and improperly trying to delay proceedings.
“I’ve publicly described the D.C. federal courthouse as the dirtiest federal courthouse in America, and I stand by that,” Clevenger said.
He maintains a website, dirtyrottenjudges.com.
Complaints filed by Clevenger likely led to the early retirements of Walter S. Smith Jr., a longtime federal judge in Waco, and Harry Hudspeth, a former federal judge in Austin.
Smith, 75, retired in September, ending his 32-year tenure as Waco’s federal judge. His retirement came while a renewed investigation, spurred by a Clevenger appeal, was being conducted by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Along with his complaint, Clevenger filed a sworn statement from a former federal courthouse employee, who said Smith groped her in his chambers in 1998 and made other unwanted sexual advances toward her.
The Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reprimanded Smith in December 2015 and stripped him from hearing any new cases for a year. It also said he lied to investigators, causing delays in the proceedings, and did not fully grasp the severity of what he had done.
The sanctions were not enough for Clevenger, who wanted Smith impeached. He filed an appeal of the orders, saying investigators did not address other allegations in his complaint.
The council reopened the investigation, and Smith retired while the probe was still in the works.
Likewise, Clevenger filed a complaint against Hudspeth, who was the chief judge of the Western District of Texas at the time. Clevenger alleged Hudspeth was aware of the woman’s complaints against Smith and did nothing.
Hudspeth, who was on senior status, also retired while the complaint against him was pending.