Did Judge Martin Retire Because He Was Under Investigation? – UPDATED

Last July, Judge Boyce Martin announced his retirement from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Tonight, TPM reports that Martin made his decision “under a cloud of accusations that he had racked up nearly $140,000 in ‘questionable travel expenses.’”

The details came out in a decision filed by five members of a federal panel on judicial conduct. The decision was in response to a petition filed by Boyce in August asking that his name be kept confidential and that his case not be referred to the Justice Department. Both requests were denied. . . .

Before the investigation could go any further, according to Friday’s decision, Martin submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama. Because of that, the court investigators halted their inquiry and never reached a conclusion about the expenses. . . .

In its decision, the panel wrote that the court’s efforts to disclose Martin’s name and refer his case to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section were appropriate under federal rules.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Judge Martin e-mails to note that Judge Martin had offered to repay all travel reimbursements he had received over the relevant period, not merely those that were in question.  This is the source of the $138,500 figure.  The spokesperson did not identify the value of those reimbursements that were in question, however.  According to the ruling, Judge Martin offered to repay this amount in three installments between June and August 2013, but only the first two payments were ever received.

For those interested in more details on this case, here is yesterday’s ruling and a prior ruling in the matter.  Former Sixth Circuit clerk Josh Blackman has also posted a handy timeline of relevant events.

SECOND UPDATE: According to Judge Martin’s spokesperson, he had sent a check to pay the third installment when it was due.  As this payment appears not to have been received by the court, he has sent a new payment to cover the final installment.