MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Alabama State Bar released two reports concerning thehearings that led to the disbarment of former Mobile County JudgeHerman Thomas.
One report, filedFebruary 26 states that after reviewing testimony into the sexualabuse allegations against Thomas:
- "the Disciplinary Board of the Alabama State Bar finds that clear and convincing evidence has been presented that Thomas engaged in improper ex parte contacts with criminal defendants on his docket, spanked or paddled criminal defendants on his docket, and engaged in conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law by spanking both minors and adults in the community."
The report says it found the testimony of witnesses, who claimedthat Thomas spanked them with a belt, touched their buttocks withhis hand, was sexually aroused and spanked them with a fraternitypaddle, was truthful.
The document goes onto say:
- "During his testimony, Thomas admitted to spanking other young men in the community..admitted that the individuals' pants and underwear may have been down during the spankings and that he may have instructed the individuals to drop their pants."
- "Thomas admitted to picking up a number of young men from the jail and taking them to the courthouse after business hours."
- "..Thomas testified that he owned three paddles but that he had never taken any of the paddles into the courthouse or his office. However, the Honorable Roderick P. Stout and Mobile County Circuit Court Clerk JoJo Schwarzauer both testified that they had observed a wooden fraternity paddle in Thomas' chambers."
In conclusion, the report states:
- "The Board finds that these spankings and paddlings were not a form of mentoring or discipline but were rather engaged in by Thomas for his own sexual gratification....these spankings were not among those of the nature that a parent might give to their own child, but rather were sexually motivated assaults."
Theother report released by the State Bar says Thomas, through hisattorney, admitted that he provided legal services while suspendedfrom the practice of law.
The Alabama State Bar agreed to suspend Thomas' license topractice law in Alabama for 5 years. Attorney Bob Clark says anappeal of the disbarment was e-filed to the Alabama Supreme CourtFriday morning. The State Bar says Thomas faxed an unsigned noticeof appeal to its office about 3:30 Friday afternoon.
Thomas is still licensed to practice law in Florida, though aspokesperson for the Florida Bar says, "Upon receipt of the Alabamadisbarment order, The Florida Bar will immediately file a petitionfor emergency suspension of his Florida license to practice law bythe Florida Supreme Court and we will subsequently determine whatfurther disciplinary action may be warranted based on thecircumstances of the Alabama disbarment."
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