Were jail inmates paddled by judge?

Were jail inmates paddled by judge?

An Alabama judge suspended earlier this year for allegations of ethics violations could soon face criminal charges. The Mobile Press Register Newspaper is reporting that Judge Herman Thomas is under investigation for removing prisoners from the Metro Jail and paddling them.

Jessica Taloney has more.

Within hours of new allegations against Judge Herman Thomas being leaked to the Press Register, the Mobile NAACP is coming to his defense.

"There is a conspiracy between the DA , even the other judges," said NAACP President Jimmie Gardner, who calls the investigation into allegations that the judge paddled inmates at the Mobile County Metro jail "a witch hunt."

Gardner says the District Attorney's office co-erced inmates into talking about the judge in exchange for promises of lesser sentences.

Gardner is not disputing whether allegations against the judge are true, he's just challenging the way the information was gathered. He says this letter from an inmate is proof that the DA isn't following the rules.

In the letter, Maurice Robinson, who's behind bars on a drug charge, says the District Attorney told him he'd have to serve twenty years if he didn't speak out against Judge Thomas.

While Robinson is not one of the inmates who's part of the paddling investigation, Gardner says he believes others were told the same thing.

"I think you're going to find that there's going to be a number of them that reflects this same situation. We deal in facts in an investigation."

Chief Assistant District Attorney Nikki Patterson says the DA's office will not respond directly to the NAACP's conspiracy theory, but she did say questioning prisoners during the course of an investigation is not uncommon and DA's office is only motivated by finding the truth.

"I think it is very important in something as sensitive as this that facts be the basis for any discussion not emotion."

Thomas was suspended from the Circuit Court Bench earlier this year for unrelated allegations of manipulating a jail sentence for his cousin.