Joe Biden’s pick to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development is being touted as yet another win for diversity. But the press is overlooking the nominee’s most noteworthy accomplishment — Obtaining clemency for a local judge who later brutally murdered his wife.
Cleveland-area Congresswoman Marcia Fudge campaigned openly for the job, but there is little reason to believe she was chosen for being the best option. Instead, the nomination seems to be a concession to Congressman James Clyburn, whose endorsement of Biden in South Carolina was crucial in helping him win the Democratic nomination. Clyburn had promoted Fudge and loudly complained that not enough black people were nominated for Cabinet posts.
Fudge has had an unremarkable 10 years in Congress. What is remarkable, though, is the role she played in getting clemency for a Cleveland-area judge.
In 2015, Cuyahoga County judge Lance Mason was convicted of a brutal assault on his then wife, Aisha Fraser Mason. Mason’s attack wasn’t a run-of-the-mill domestic violence case. Mason was convicted not just of punching his wife in the face several times, but also choking her, slamming her head into a car window, and even biting her, all with children watching from the back seat of the couple’s car. Mason then forced Aisha from the car and left her in the middle of the road, forcing her to call 911. Mason’s attack was violent enough that he broke his wife’s orbital bone.
But according to Fudge, Mason’s offense was mild. She wrote a letter of support to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, asking for leniency based on “more than 20 years of friendship” with the judge.
“The behavior Lance displayed … is out of character and totally contrary to everything I know about him,” Fudge wrote. “Lance accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again. The Lance T. Mason I know is a kind, intelligent man and loyal friend.”
Perhaps partially thanks to Fudge’s letter, Mason received a sentence of just 24 months, serving only nine.