Legal Ethics

Judge Accused of Paddling Defendants Is Disbarred

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A former Alabama judge accused of paddling defendants has been disbarred.

Former Judge Herman Thomas of Mobile County was disbarred Monday after a closed hearing, report the Associated Press, the Press Register and WKRG. Thomas is currently campaigning for state senator.

Tony McLain, general counsel of the Alabama State Bar, said there was evidence that Thomas paddled inmates and that he talked to inmates without attorneys present, the Press Register story says. According to McLain, Thomas testified that he did spank five young men for discipline, but none of them were criminal defendants in his courtroom.

Thomas’ lawyer, Robert “Cowboy Bob” Clark, said he plans to appeal.

Jurors acquitted Thomas last October on some charges related to the spankings, and a judge threw out other charges after the jury could not reach a consensus. The charges included sodomy, sex abuse and assault. Prosecutors had claimed Thomas paddled defendants in exchange for leniency. Thomas’ attorney had argued he shouldn’t be convicted on the word of 11 convicted felons.

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