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Impeached Federal Judge Could Be Heading Back To Jail

September 10, 1990

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Federal parole officers recommended Monday that impeached federal judge Walter L. Nixon be sent back to prison for breaking parole by carrying a gun on a turkey hunt.

Two parole officers decided on that recommendation after a parole revocation hearing at which an investigator said Nixon had asked him to pretend he wasn’t carrying two guns - a rifle and a shotgun - when he was arrested on hunting violations April 25.

Chester Diaz, a state Department of Wildlife special investigator, also testified that, after Nixon was arrested, he asked to switch the guns for an old-fashioned muzzleloader.

Nixon said ″he was liable to be in serious trouble with those guns. He asked me to switch them,″ Diaz said.

″He asked me to swap them out. I told him ‘No sir,’ ″ said Diaz.

Nixon, 61, had been on parole since November 1989, the same month the U.S. Senate stripped him of his $89,500-a-year judgeship. Nixon was convicted in 1986 of lying to a federal grand jury.

Nixon testified Monday that he didn’t hunt or take his guns from their cases the day he was arrested.

Nixon apologized: ″I ask for your compassion and mercy. I know that I did wrong and I regret it with all my heart.″

Parole officer Herb Lepchenske said he will recommend that Nixon serve 10 months of the remaining three years on his five-year prison sentence.

″You basically admitted to possession of firearms,″ Lepchenske said.

Nixon and former state game warden Austin Shattles were convicted two months ago in Jackson County of conspiracy to hunt over a baited field. Nixon also was convicted of hunting wild turkey over a baited field.

Both men are appealing.

The officers will forward their recommendation to the seven-member Parole Commission in Atlanta, which will review the case and then vote on whether to revoke Nixon’s parole.

A decision is expected within three weeks, the parole officers said.

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