The Associated Press - April 21, 2009
MOBILE, Ala. — Former Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas has pleaded not guilty to 57 counts of kidnapping, sodomy, sex abuse, extortion and ethics violations. In a court filing Tuesday, Thomas waived his arraignment and submitted his plea in writing. He remains free on bond. Defense attorney Robert Clark says Thomas will not seek to move his trial away from Mobile. Retired Marengo County Judge Claude Neilson will preside at the trial, expected to be held this fall. Thomas is accused of paddling inmates from Mobile County jail and forcing them to perform sexual favors in exchange for leniency in the courtroom, but the former judge, who resigned from the bench in 2007 when the allegations first surfaced, has denied all of the charges.
State Bar: Thomas Is A “Sexual Predator”
WKRG News 5 by Jessica Taloney - April 9, 2009
A former judge accused of paddling inmates will not get his law license back any time soon. A three person panel of the Alabama State Bar's Disciplinary Commission upheld a previous decision to suspend Herman Thomas' license, despite Thomas denying under oath all of the allegations in a 57 count indictment. "I'm not guilty," said Thomas, in his first interview since his arrest earlier this month. "There is no doubt that people assisted these inmates in telling these lies on me." During the two hour hearing, Thomas testified about the nature of his relationship with each of the nine inmates named in the indictment. Thomas acknowledged going to Mobile Metro Jail to pick up two of the inmates on separate occasions, but he said he gave one of the inmates a ride home and the other he took to his court chambers to mentor.
In addition to paddling inmates, Thomas is also accused of forcing them to perform sexual acts in exchange for leniency in the courtroom. Tony McLain, General Counsel for the Alabama State Bar, introduced into evidence pictures of the room where the sexual abuse allegedly happened and forensic DNA evidence allegedly found in the room. "When you have the mounting amount of information and the number of people coming forward, especially with someone in a high place such as a judge, wanting to provide information which obviously is embarrassing to them individually and the responsibility they have to back it up, leads us to the conclusion he is a dangerous individual," said McLain, who also agreed with the testimony of Jeremy McIntrye, Asst. General Counsel, who called Thomas a "sexual predator." Thomas' wife sat behind him during the hearing, and afterwards she clung to his arm as he talked to News Five about his desire to continue working in the community. Thomas's attorney, Bob Clark, says his first court appearance in the criminal case will likely be April 17th.
Herman Thomas Will Plead Not Guilty
Mobile News 5 by Jamie Burch - April 17, 2009
Former judge Herman Thomas will plea not guilty to sex crimes that could cost him his law license and his freedom. Thomas' attorney, Bob Clarke told News 5 that he is working on the paperwork and plans to file it Tuesday. Thomas was arrested last month after a grand jury returned a 57 count indictment accusing him of paddling inmates and forcing them to perform sexual acts in exchange for leniency. The Alabama Bar then suspended his license. This morning, the judge had conference call with Clarke and Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson to discuss the case. The trial is expected to be scheduled for late September or early October.
Former Judge Herman Thomas Indicted on Sex, Ethics Charges
WPMI-TV - March 27, 2009
(MOBILE, Ala.)(AP) March 26 - Former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas has bonded out of the Mobile County Metro Jail after he was arrested Friday afternoon. Before his arrest, Thomas was indicted by a grand jury on 57 felony counts, accusing him of, among other things, sexually abusing Mobile County inmates in exchange for favors in his courtroom. Thomas is charged with ethics violations, kidnapping, extortion, sexual abuse and sodomy. The indictment against him includes graphic details of alleged paddling and other sexual favors. Eight victims are named in the indictment. All of the alleged victims are men. Some still remain in Metro Jail. It's a high-tech lynching, said Thomas's attorney, Bob Clark. This is racism as its very finest. We should be proud citizens of this county and proud we elected these bastards. Friday, Mobile County District Attorney, John Tyson, Jr., asked for other possible victims of Thomas to come forward. Thomas resigned from the bench in 2007 amid allegations that he took over other judges' cases without their knowledge, checked inmates out of jail and paddled them, and involved himself in cases where he had personal connections. Thomas was let out of jail shortly after he was arrested Friday, on a $250,000 bond. Tyson does not believe Thomas is a flight risk. Thomas's bond, however, has three conditions. Thomas is not allowed to have any contact with males under the age of 21 or contact with witnesses in the case or their family members. If Thomas has a passport, he must give it up.