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Corruption Chronicles

Indicted Alabama Judge Exchanged Probation For Sex

An Alabama judge previously investigated by his state’s judicial commission has been charged with 57 felonies, ranging from sexual abuse to extortion and kidnapping, for checking male inmates out of jail and forcing them to engage in sexual activities.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas forced nine inmates at the county jail to engage in sexual activity with him, according to a grand jury indictment released a few days ago. The judge had a storage room furnished like an office near his chamber at Mobile’s Government Plaza and several criminal defendants said in affidavits that the judge asked to paddle their buttocks in the room. Others suggested sexual encounters in the office. 

The disgraced judge resigned in late 2007 amid a state judicial commission investigation into ethics violations involving the sex scandal. That complaint, which was dismissed after his resignation, accused him of extra judiciary personal contact with some defendants. Since resigning from the bench Thomas has been practicing law but this week the Alabama State Bar suspended his license. 

Earlier this month another Mobile County judge (Joseph Johnston) barred Thomas from his courtroom, writing in an order that as a judge Thomas used his office to threaten criminal defendants with jail time and probation revocations if they did not engage in sexual acts with him.

Thomas faces a prison sentence of up to nine decades. His $287,500 bail has three conditions; that he have no contact with males under the age of 21, that he have no contact with the complaining witnesses or their families and that he surrender his passport. 


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