Federal judge resigns from lifetime-tenured role after just 4 years

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A Trump-appointed federal judge in Alaska has resigned after investigators determined he created a hostile work environment, engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former law clerk and lied about it to his colleagues.

Joshua Kindred resigned from his post as a U.S. District Court judge for Alaska effective Monday after serving just four years on the bench. His resignation letter did not give reasons as to why.

The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit on the same day released a 30-page order that detailed its findings into Kindred’s alleged misconduct. 

“We conclude that Judge Kindred committed misconduct by creating a hostile work environment for his law clerks. That hostile work environment included ‘unwanted, offensive, and abusive sexual conduct, including sexual harassment,’” the order states.


The order described more than 700 pages of text messages between Kindred and his law clerks, many of which were deemed “highly inappropriate.” 

In one message, the order states that Kindred told his clerks, “Who gives a f— about ethics, we need to get you paid.” In another, the order says he joked about “punching multiple Supreme Court justices,” and bringing Patrón tequila, heroin and “whip-its” – a slang term for a type of inhalant drug – to a dinner party in his chambers.

The council said it also found that Kindred had an “inappropriately sexualized relationship” with a female law clerk during her clerkship and after she became an assistant U.S. attorney for Alaska. 

Kindred engaged in sexual contact with her on two occasions, according to the order. The female former clerk said the second incident, which occurred at an Airbnb where Kindred was staying, was not consensual. Kindred has said it was consensual.

“The Council need not make a finding on whether the Airbnb incident was consensual to conclude that Judge Kindred committed misconduct,” the order said.


When asked about the sexual encounter with his former law clerk during the investigation, Kindred lied to Chief Judge Mary Murguia, the Special Committee and the Council, denying the encounter ever happened until he was put under oath, according to the judges’ order.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, wrote on social media that Kindred’s resignation “is more than appropriate.”

“Judges need to be held to the highest of standards and Mr. Kindred fell well short of that mark,” Murkowski wrote. “I will be working quickly to advance a replacement nominee for consideration.”

Though Kindred has resigned, the matter is not closed. The council referred the case to the Judicial Conference to consider impeachment.

Kindred was appointed to the position by former President Trump in 2019 and was sworn into office in 2020.

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