Judiciary

Judge is accused of threatening to bust butt of traffic defendant, claiming she likes 'to flim-flam people'

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Print.

ethics hour glass

Image from Shutterstock.com.

An ethics complaint has accused an Alabama judge of losing his temper, yelling profanity and making threatening remarks when a traffic court defendant sought his recusal and raised the possibility of suing his son.

Judge Clifton S. Price II, a part-time municipal judge in Leeds, Alabama, allegedly told the defendant that, “If you mess with my son, I’ll bust your ass.”

AL.com has coverage; the April 23 complaint by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission is here.

The complaint noted in a footnote that it recounts the conversation in quotation marks, but words to the same effect may have instead been used.

The incident happened Feb. 21, 2020. According to the ethics complaint, the defendant, who was accused of driving on a suspended license, had accused Price’s son of being involved in a hit-and-run incident that damaged her vehicle while she was working at the Waffle House.

The son was the likely passenger because of a credit card receipt for his meal, and she planned to sue him to learn the name of the driver, the defendant said. She told Price that he should recuse from her case.

Price allegedly interrupted and told the defendant that, if she sued his son, he would sue “her ass.” The defendant said she had nothing against the judge’s son, but she had to know the name of the driver.

Price allegedly continued in a loud voice, saying, “Oh, yeah, I know who you are. You’re the lady that likes to flim-flam people.”

When the defendant said it isn’t true, Price allegedly replied, “If you sue my son, I will bust your ass.”

His face was very red, the complaint said.

During the continued discussion, Price said the defendant was a “goddamn liar,” the complaint said.

“Let me tell you something, lady,” Price allegedly said. “If you mess with my son, I’ll bust your ass. Do you hear me? I’ll bust your ass.”

Price asked the defendant whether she was the “Waffle woman” who tries to sue a lot of people, and the defendant said she does not. She said she only wanted the name of the driver.

Price finally gave the defendant the name of the driver while warning her not to mess with his son.

“You’re nothing but a scam flim-flam artist,” he said.

He told the woman that she could leave, and she would be given another judge.

The city prosecutor and the court clerk/chief magistrate tried to interrupt and diffuse the situation, to no avail, the complaint said.

After the incident, Price leaned over to the court clerk/chief magistrate and said, “I think I might have lost my cool.”

She replied, “You think?”

Price is accused of violating ethics rules for “indecorous and discourteous behavior” and for allowing family relationships to improperly influence his judicial conduct.

Price did not immediately reply to an ABA Journal email seeking comment.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.