Judge Robert H. Campbell resigned from the D.C. Superior Court yesterday, citing permanent physical disabilities, and was granted a medical retirement pension by outgoing Mayor Walter E. Washington.
With Campbell's resignation, the city's judicial tenure commission announced it has closed a 16-month "intensive investigation" into what sources earlier described as allegations of judicial misconduct by Campbell in connection with masses of tickets he handled in the city's traffic court.
Vairous sources made it clear yesterday however, that the commission's action would have no affect on nearly year long federal investigation and grand jury probe of Campbell. That investigation was prompted by allegations that there was a pattern of favoritism in the way Campbell handled over weight truck tickets issued to a large Washington area excavation firm.
Campbell's resignation is effective Feb. 2.
Harry S. Wender, an attorney who represnets Campbell along with lawyer Jacob A. Stein, said yesterday that physicians who examined and treated Campbell Determined he suffered from various illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, loss of vision in his left eye, partial loss of vision in his right eye, and a nervous disorder of the throat.
In a prepared statement, the D.C. Commission on Judical Disabilities and Tenure said "the ultimate sanction which the commission had the power to impose is, removal from the bench. This is accomplished through Judge Campbell's resignation and no useful purpose could be served in pursuing these allegations further."
"The foregoing does not indicate that any of the allegations against Judge Campbell have beedn proven before the commission." the statement said. The statement, released late yesterday by commission chairman Henry A. Berliner Jr., did not describe the allegations concerning Campbell.
Campbell, 56, a judge of the Superior Court since 1972, could not be reached for comment yesterday. In a brief telephone conversation yesterday afternoon, Campbell's wife said the judge was "resting" and could not come to the telephone.
George R. Harrod, the city's director of personnel, said yesterday that statements from three doctors were submitted to Mayor Washington along with Campbell's application for medical retirement, which was dated Dec. 19.
Campbell, whose judicial conduct in traffic court was frequently the subject of sharp criticism from lawyers who felt he was harsh with individual defendants but lenient with businesses, has been absent from the Superior Court for the past two to three months.
Under District law, a judge with five years or more tenure can request voluntary medical retirement for permanent physical disabilities that prevent or impair the judge's performance of duties.
With medical retirement, Campbell will be eligible to receive a minimum of 50 percent and a maximum of 80 percent of his current salary of $49,050.
The amount of Campbell's pension, which would include compensation for employment with the city prior to his judgeship, will be computed by retirement officials in the city government.
Unlike other retirement systems within the city government, which require approval of benefits by various review boards, approval of voluntary medical retirement for judges is by law solely up to the mayor, city officials said. Disability retirement benefits granted to some city employes, such as former police chief Maurice J. Cullinane and other police officers, have been the focus of some controversy.
Campbell was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1972 by then president Nixon. Prior to his judgeship, Campbell had worked for 18 years as an assisistant city prosecutor in the D.C. Corporation Counsel's Office. He was chief of the law enforcement division there when he received his 15-year appointment to the court.