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Thread-Topic: CJ1001-001 : Judges can be wrong, too
From: PAUL JUDE GUIDRY <PGUIDRY@UCCS.EDU>
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Subject: CJ1001-001 : Judges can be wrong, too
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 21:03:36 -0600
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Here is a good story of a judge that should be removed from the bench.
Some of the issues mentioned are things we are currently discussing.
Some Charges Dropped Against Ex-Alabama Judge
*Wednesday, October 21, 2009*
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -
Kidnapping and extortion charges against a former Alabama judge were
dismissed Wednesday, but a jury will deliberate the remaining felony
counts accusing him of paddling and sexually abusing male inmates in
return for leniency.
Circuit Judge Claud Neilson said jurors would hear closing arguments in
the pared-down case against former Mobile Circuit Judge Herman Thomas on
Thursday morning and begin deliberating later in the day.
Thomas, 48, was a community leader in Mobile, serving as a judge for 17
years, a trustee of two universities and an organizer of mentoring
programs for youth. He resigned in 2007 when allegations surfaced that
he spanked defendants with a wooden paddle. Then earlier this year a
grand jury indicted him on charges that he physically and sexually
abusing young male defendants in return for help with their cases.
He originally faced 103 charges involving 15 young men, but prosecutors
dropped four of the men's cases during the trial, and the judge threw
out all ethics charges against him because the statute of limitations
On Wednesday, the judge dismissed kidnapping charges, saying accusations
that Thomas took young men to a private courthouse office for paddlings
didn't constitute kidnapping.
"I don't think kidnapping occurred in the Mobile County courthouse in a
room that is unlocked," he said.
Neilson also threw out the extortion charges accusing Thomas of securing
sexual favors from inmates in return for leniency. He said Alabama's law
involves taking things of value permanently or for a long period, and
taking sexual favors doesn't fit the definition of the law.
"How do you deprive someone permanently of sexual favors?" he asked
Defense attorney Jeff Deen said he was pleased that four-fifths of the
original charges had been dismissed or thrown out, and only 21 charges
Chief Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson said the jury would
still consider very serious charges of assault, sexual abuse, attempted
sodomy and sodomy. The last charge is the most serious and carries a
sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Thomas did not testify in his own defense during the trial. Defense
attorney Robert "Cowboy Bob" Clark said there was no need because of the
lack of credibility of Thomas' 11 accusers.
"They were a bunch of felonious liars," Clark said.
Instead of Thomas defending himself, the defense team spent two days
presenting a Roman Catholic archbishop, two school principals, a
kindergarten teacher and a coach who described how Thomas spent many
hours speaking to school groups and mentoring young people, particularly
those in trouble.
"What else do you want? You want the pope?" Clark told reporters outside