Judge Kent has become well-known throughout the legal community for his unique orders and judgments. Examples of his writing style include an Order of Transfer (suggesting that, for a district judge to have jurisdiction to hear a foreign nation's complaints, it is more proper if a restaurant serving the nation's food is in the district), an Order Denying Motion to Transfer, and his Opinion in Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp
One of his opinions berated a lawyer for ineptly requesting a change of venue for a lawsuit (which involves transfer to a different federal district), when the lawyer simply wanted the case moved to another division within the same district. The judge not only pointed out the error in seeking the wrong remedy, he described the motion in his written opinion as "patently insipid, ludicrous and unequivocally without any merit whatsoever." He wrote that the "obnoxiously ancient, boilerplate, inane Motion is emphatically DENIED," and went on to disqualify the attorney who filed it from representing his client in the case any further, "for submitting such asinine tripe.
In 2001, the Chief Judge of the Southern District of Texas reassigned 85 cases away from Judge Kent that were being handled by Richard Melancon, an attorney who was considered a close friend of the Judge.
In August 2007, Chief Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas issued an order indicating that Judge Kent would not be hearing cases between September 1, 2007 and January 1, 2008. On September 28, 2007, an article in the online edition of the Texas Lawyer stated that the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had that day issued an order reprimanding and admonishing Judge Kent, relating to "a complaint of judicial misconduct lodged against the judge alleging sexual harassment toward an employee of the federal judicial system." "The Judicial council concluded 'appropriate remedial action had been and will be taken, including but not limited to the Judge's four-month leave of absence from the bench, reallocation of the Galveston/Houston docket and other measures.'" The Galveston Daily News reported on September 23, 2007 that the complainant was the judge's former case manager.
During Judge Kent's four-month leave of absence, he will continue to draw his annual salary; he will not perform judicial work, with his cases instead allocated to other judges for handling. The requirement of Article III that federal judges "shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office" may preclude action against his salary barring impeachment.The Daily News story reported that judicial discipline is extremely rare in the 5th Circuit. Judge Kent was transferred to the Houston division of the Southern District of Texas in January 2008.
On December 20, 2007, the 5th Circuit issued an order indicating that there was an ongoing Department of Justice criminal investigation into the allegations underlying the complaint to the Judicial Council.
On August 28, 2008, Kent was indicted on three federal counts of abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse, stemming from the same alleged conduct that was the basis for the 2007 misconduct complaint. He is the first federal judge to be charged with federal sex crimes.