The trial begins of former Alabama Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas, who is accused of exchanging leniency for sexual acts performed in his chambers and/or car. At least 15 current or former inmates are scheduled to testify against the disgraced former judge now facing 83 counts of kidnapping, sex abuse, sodomy and extortion.
The oldest incident in the charges dates to 1999, his first year as a circuit judge. Some inmates in those cases described being checked out of the jail for meetings with Thomas in his car or in his private office in the county courthouse. First, there were reports of inmates having to pull down their underwear for spankings with a wooden paddle. Then came allegations of oral and anal sex, according to court records.
Defense attorney Robert "Cowboy Bob" Clark calls the accusers "lying felons" who are trying to wreck the career of "a prestigious member of the Bar for over 20 years." The NAACP has defended Thomas and claims race is behind his prosecution. But [Chief Assistant District Attorney Nicki] Patterson disputes that, noting that each of the victims is black, and says that jail checkout records back up inmates' claims about trips to Thomas' private office, and other inmates spotted marks after paddlings. There also is other evidence, according to court records, including one inmate's seminal fluid on the office carpet. The inmates also were able to describe in detail Thomas' unmarked windowless office.
Special Judge Claud Neilson dismissed 20 counts of ethics violations against the disgraced former Mobile County judge and ruled the alleged violations exceeded the statute of limitations. The 83 criminal counts were left intact and jury selection begins Wednesday, reports the Birmingham News
Thomas was once a rising star in the Alabama Democratic Party, a black Democrat who was "repeatedly elected in an Alabama county that was predominantly white and Republican." Thomas, who was considered tough on crime and a "law and order" judge, is married with children.
Thomas gives new meaning to the old phrase "Here cums the judge." From the poster boy of black Alabama Democrats to the latest example of hypocrisy, repressed sexuality and the closet. Thomas may have a flair for bow ties but his sordid actions—and the super-lame defense by the NAACP—is not a good look.