As a Birmingham, AL, criminal defense lawyer, I am committed to representing those persons accused of crimes in Alabama, be they related to drug trafficking, criminal sexual behavior or other allegedly unlawful activities. I have for years defended individuals charged with a variety of criminal behavior. And while I believe that every person has the right to an aggressive criminal defense, I have little tolerance myself for those in the law enforcement community and the judiciary who by their own actions demonstrate that they are above the law they have sworn to uphold.
Such may be the situation with a former Alabama circuit court judge, Herman Thomas, who had already been indicted on 57 counts of various crimes including kidnapping, sex abuse, sodomy and extortion. The indictments this past spring accused Thomas of sexually assaulting jail inmates and defendants under his power as a judge and, in some cases, paddling them.
According to recent reports, the special Mobile County grand jury that brought those initial criminal charges against Thomas has now issued another volley of additional indictments. With more than 100 criminal counts, I must say that this is quite damning. Regardless, nobody, not even Mr. Thomas, should be judged solely on the volume or type of charges brought against him or her.
The report produced by the 18-member grand jury, which is divided equally between blacks and whites and about equally between men and women, indicates six new accusers on top of the nine listed in the panel's March report, as well as last week's 46 additional criminal counts. The 48-year-old Thomas claims that the charges are racist in nature.
The ex-judge stepped down from the bench in October 2007 and reportedly this past March his law license was revoked amid the criminal allegations. Thomas and his lawyer had just returned last Friday from Montgomery, where they met with Alabama State Bar officials in preparation for a civil trial on the reinstatement of his license. His criminal trial is set for October 5 in Mobile.
Herman Thomas grand jury issues more charges, AL.com, August 8, 2009