Ex-Judge Joshua Kindred Resigns Amid Scandal Involving Misconduct with Law Clerks and Federal Prosecutors

Anchorage, AK — Following a judicial council’s investigation, former U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred resigned amid findings of improper conduct with a law clerk and dishonesty in his responses to investigators. His resignation, effective July 3, caps a tumultuous period marked by allegations that he maintained what the council termed an “inappropriately sexualized relationship” with the clerk.

The investigation into Kindred, which culminated in a 29-page report released publicly on Monday, detailed numerous instances of professional misconduct. According to the findings, Kindred engaged in behavior that spanned from sexual harassment to creating a hostile workspace, actions deemed unbecoming for someone of his judicial stature.

Appointed to Alaska’s U.S. District Court in 2020 by then-President Donald Trump, Kindred came into the role at the age of 42, becoming one of the youngest in a series of major appointments aimed at cementing a conservative influence in the federal judiciary. His brief tenure has now ended, leaving behind a slew of pending cases and questions about the integrity of past proceedings.

Chief Judge Sharon Gleason, currently the sole active district court judge in Alaska, will assume responsibility for most of Kindred’s caseload. This transition follows the retirement of former Chief Judge Timothy Burgess at the end of 2021.

The misconduct outlined in the detailed disciplinary order extends beyond inappropriate interactions with the clerk. Investigators revealed that Kindred had received and exchanged personal and flirtatious messages with several attorneys, including nude photographs from a federal prosecutor who frequently appeared in his courtroom. Despite these revelations, there were no direct accusations that Kindred allowed his personal dealings to influence his legal judgments.

Even in chamber discussions, Kindred often spoke without consideration for professional boundaries, sharing details about his personal life and making offensive remarks. This behavior contributed to a charged atmosphere, prompting one clerk to resign prematurely.

During the investigation, sparked by reports of potential misconduct in November 2022, Kindred initially lied about his actions. It was only upon rigorous examination during a Judicial Council session that he conceded to having misled the investigating committee, a move that potentially could lead to further legal repercussions.

Acknowledging the gravity of these issues, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ Judicial Council decided to publicly reprimand Kindred and subsequently referred the matter for possible impeachment consideration by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The fallout from this scandal highlights significant concerns regarding judicial accountability and the expectations placed on federal judges to uphold the highest standards of integrity. Chief Judge Mary Murguia emphasized the judiciary’s duty to self-regulate and ensure that all members conduct themselves with exemplary ethical behavior.

As the federal court system continues to deal with the repercussions of this incident, Alaska’s U.S. Senators have vowed to work towards the appointment of new judges who exemplify the values necessary for their significant roles. Both Senators express disappointment in Kindred’s actions, reflecting broader concerns about maintaining public trust in the judicial system.

This case serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing necessity for vigilance and transparency in the monitoring of judicial conduct, ensuring the upholding of justice and integrity at all levels of the court system.