MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Former judge Herman Thomas was back in court Monday morning. TheAlabama Bar Association held a disciplinary hearing on charges thatThomas violated the rule of professional conduct.
Those rules have not been made public, because it was a privatehearing. A disciplinary board heard all evidence and testimony,which was also not released to the public.
Witnesses were brought forward for the hearing. Some, likeSenator Vivian Davis Figures, testified at his 2009 trial. Thomaswas acquitted of sexually abusing and paddling inmates in exchangefor leniency in his courtroom.
Thomas was the primary witness during the hearing.
Senator Figures said she was disappointed the hearings were notmade public. Figures' son was an alleged victim in Thomas' criminalcase. Also, two inmates from Thomas' previous trial took to thestand.
The Alabama Bar Association said Thomas and his attorney, BobClark, had the power to waive confidentiality and allow reportersinside. However, they did not use that power.
"I don't want anything read into the fact that this isconfidential. I think in my 20-plus years at the state bar, we'veonly had three where the lawyer or his counsel waivedconfidentiality and allowed it to be a public hearing," said TonyMcLain, General Counsel with the Alabama Bar Association.
Clark said they would not waive anything, unless it's a flag.McLain said there is good reason for the confidentiality.
"I'd say 92 percent of complaints that we get against lawyershave no merit, and to air that publicly is unfair," addedMcClain.
McLain would not say if this case fell into that 92 percent.
The punishment for violating the rule of professional conductranges from private reprimand to disbarment. At the time of thehearing, Thomas' law license was only suspended. If Thomas wants tobe reinstated, he will have to wait five years. Then he has tobring his case before the Alabama Supreme Court.
Clark said he's not surprised by the decision.
Thomas agreed to talk to local media after his 2009 trial. Tosee Bob Grip's complete interview with Thomas,
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