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Thomas Found Not Guilty on All Charges

By Rob Holbert

OCTOBER 26, 2009



Former Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas walked out of one of the courtrooms in Government Plaza this afternoon a free man, after being found not guilty on all 21 counts left before the jury.

The ex-judge, who had been charged in relation to allegedly spanking and abusing prisoners for his own sexual gratification, smiled briefly and hugged family members, while his supporters packing the courtroom erupted in cheers when Special Judge Claud Neilson said the final words of the three-week-long trial: "Defendant found not guilty on all counts. Court adjourned."

The jury of seven women and five men had been brought back in a few minutes earlier and had issued verdicts on seven charges, a sodomy charge, one second-degree assault and five sexual abuse charges. The jury foreman then told the judge it was unlikely they would come to any agreement on the other charges after deliberating for roughly 16 hours since last Thursday afternoon.

Neilson then, as a "matter of law," found Thomas not guilty on all the remaining second-degree assault charges, determining that a paddle or a belt was not a dangerous instrument, and therefore did not meet the wording in the law. During the trial, Thomas' defense team all-but-admitted the ex-judge had paddled or spanked the alleged victims, but had repeatedly said Thomas "wasn't on trial for spanking anyone."

Neilson then went down the list and tossed the remaining sodomy and second-degree assault charges. On the sodomy issue, Neilson said there had to be forcible compulsion to do so but no such thing happened. The jury found Thomas not guilty in the case of the alleged victim who had an I.Q. of 55 and claimed the then-judge tried to force his mouth onto the judge's penis by grabbing the back of his head.

As he left the courtroom, Thomas held his head high, but refused to say a word to media members who peppered him with questions. He was surrounded by a thick crowd of family and supporters, some of whom cried in joy at his acquittal.

Defense attorney Jeff Deen said he was happy and relieved, although not surprised at the outcome.

"The fact that the jury acquitted him on all the charges they reached a verdict in, probably weighed heavily on the judge's decisions in the others," Deen said.

On the other side of matters, Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson said he was "extremely disappointed" with the outcome and that he "respectfully disagreed" with the judge's decisions to find Thomas not guilty of all the remaining charges. He was also unhappy with Neilson tossing out the extortion charges prior to the case being handed over to the jury.

Tyson said in retrospect he wishes his office hadn't waited so long to file charges against Thomas, as it caused them to lose all potential ethics charges against him because the statute of limitations had expired. The only reason the other charges against Thomas were even tried is because exceptions to the statute of limitations had been granted because violence was allegedly involved.

Tyson said the case had originally been handed over the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution, and they had held the case for more than a year-and-a-half before deciding not to move forward with indictments. The result, Tyson said, was that his office was left with many fewer charges against Thomas than they might have had otherwise.

"I wouldn't have relied on the U.S. Department of Justice as long as I did," Tyson said when asked what he would have done differently.

Otherwise, he said he was satisfied the case was tried properly by his staff and everything was handled as well as it could have been.

"The only thing we can do is the best that we can do. I'm not dissatisfied at all with what we've done," Tyson said.

Tyson said talk of any further prosecutions against Thomas because of any more allegations by people claiming to have been spanked or abused by the ex-judge, would be premature.

"It would be a mistake to say there are other cases. I don't know of any," Tyson said.

Deen said Thomas would certainly attempt to regain his law license, which was suspended by the Alabama State Bar Association earlier this year. No word on whether that is a likelihood at this time, though.

As the verdict sunk in with the assembled crowd and they began filing out, one of the trial's regular attendees left the courtroom hollering loudly, "Thank you Jesus! God conquers all! He is the judge of all, thank you Jesus!"

Soon after, Herman Young Thomas would take an elevator down from the fourth floor of Government Plaza while a phalanx of his supporters clapped for him and for his freedom.

bobebrown1 says:

OCTOBER 30, 2009
4:51 PM
  I wonder who is the speaker for the hour.... and look at thier comments !?!!!!!!!!
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 28, 2009
10:07 PM
  Oh, get over the whole race card thing. Thats just a distraction from the Good Ol Boy treatment he got. Like I said, its a milestone year for race relations. America voted in an African American president, and a black man got the Good Ol Boy treatment.
bobebrown1 says:

OCTOBER 28, 2009
1:48 PM
  Well, for those of you who have indicated that the RACE Card played a part in this case - you are correct (but it still baffle me how a BLACK MAN BEATING BLACK MEN IS A RACE CARD, MAYBE IT WAS JUST POOR DEFENSE or INAPPROPATE CHARGES FROM THE START). Just read the comments listed herein. They are primarily divided by Racial Comments. It Clearly shows that this Case has open or revealed the Racial Divide not only in this very small city, but in this nation as well. It is time that this Community move into the modern age, and Look at individuals for their Qualifications and not their HUE, when one honestly look at this COMMUNITY it is comprised of a very large CASTE SYSTEM (BLACK vs WHITE, EDUCATED vs the NOT EDUCATED, SOCIAL ACCEPTED vs EVERYBODY ELSE). Here lies the problem; and one trial will not solve these issues, but it will and has revealed them.
thomaswatcher says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
9:29 PM
  Why didnt DAs mouthpieces call to the witness stand all the county employees that signed the victims out of the jail and delivered them to Thomas little play room. What about the gaurds that letr them into Govt Plaza late at night ot in the morning when the building was normally closed? This judge is complete joke. Paddling grown men doesnt constitute assault. Where did go to law school. Since the US Attoney has refused to prosecute, there is a little known clause in the US constitution that allows a private citizen to engage a private attorney to bring as federal action in the place of the federal govt. This could be a criminal or civil action. Any takers? This case proves that the Comic Cowboys had right 35 years ago - THE CLIMATE IS IDEAL FOR CRIME IN MOBILE!!
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
8:32 PM
  Mobilegirl I totally agree after leaving Mobile one would hope for change. Its been this way for so long.
mobilegirl says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
8:29 PM
  Are you kidding me? Im surprised that so many are surprised about this verdict. This is Mobile politics at its finist!
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
8:06 PM
  That aint much to be proud of justice is blind
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
7:47 PM
  Stillproud, nice try, but that seemed to be the one room where the maintenance man didnt have a key, according to testimony. Also, it was just any old joes DNA. It belonged to the alleged victims. They had to keep that room private. You know, for random roaming masturbators.
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
7:42 PM
  Blue, not just DNA, but other witnesses who could support some of the contributing misdeeds, thus corroborating the general story. As to them not believing the witnesses... Did they? Sounds like possibly some of them did after all. It also sounds like they werent polled, which seems awfully odd in a case with so much controversy and contention. And Id assume the judges ruling on the remaining counts was a response to the unanimous (?) not-guilty verdict on the others. It bears repeating. What the...? What a clusterfuck.
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
7:35 PM
  I bet it was those pesky racists! We need to start checking all people who arent black for the Mark of the Racist. If that doesnt work, then well throw them in the water. If they float, then theyre a racist.
letsgethim says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
7:33 PM
  Now lets get this drug case started! Maybe theyll get him on that!
stillproudofmobile says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
7:29 PM
  HOW DID THE SPERM GET ON JUDGE THOMAS FLOOR?remember herman thomas office was broken into several years ago. MAYBE ,THATS HOW THE SPERM GOT ON THE FLOOR. anyone could have gotten into judge thomas office. a key can be copied or borrowed from the janitor/ maint. man. who else had a key.   
bluedotbama says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
6:45 PM
  I was very surprised but not shocked. Bamagranny probably makes the most accurate observation. It certainly highlights the problems of prosecuting a high profile individual when all your witnesses are criminals and if the jury did not believe those 11 men they were not going to believe anything especially considering there was DNA corroborating them. I agree with JM on the jury comment....What the....? Arent they asked if that was their verdict? Race card? All the victims were black so wasnt this a black on black crime?
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
6:26 PM
  "predominantly African American" 5 men 7 women
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
6:08 PM
  Do we have the composition of the jury as far as sex and ethnicity? That info out yet?
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
5:50 PM
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
5:40 PM
  Can someone explain this at least three jurors have contacted District Attorney John Tyson saying that was not their verdict. Joel Hare, 43, Melinda Baker, 23 and Wayne Rogers, 47, are disputing the verdict, saying the vote was not unanimous. Hare, who insists he voted guilty to all but two charges, says he was "shocked" when the verdict was read aloud. "We were railroaded," said Hare, who declined to comment any further until after he meets with the district attorney this afternoon.
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
4:40 PM
  It seems like this has always been a stronger case for the feds. They don’t have to rely on the victims’ testimony to meet the elements of assault, sexual assault, or sodomy, and I’d think the spankings and manipulation of the sentences (“courtesy supervisionâ€?, etc) by themselves are enough to prove federal crimes occurred. Thats already been laid out on the table. To my knowledge, they don’t even have to prove there was bodily harm or sexual assault, and if they can, even better. It is a federal crime for an official to willfully deprive another of their constitutional civil rights. Are they going to let the statutes of limitation run as well? The State has always had a weak case and had difficulty trying to fit the facts to the statutes. Not to mention trying to get the victims to admit to the sexual nature of what happened and stick to a story. I’m not giving a pass to the DA either. The only recourse for some of the actions was the State, and the feds are responsible for the others. Why were they not handling it simultaneously?
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
3:54 PM
  I dont think we are missing the point..the point is the white guy with the porn the FEDS didnt arrest. They should have been the one to prosecute Thomas. If they had evidence on that DA hed be in jail. Thomas is smart he beat the black off the ones he knew no-one care about. Its like kill the homeless or the whores who cares. Vivian I guess you didnt care about your son. You run in the same circles and Herman. Oh yes wait until election day. Mobile will get it right DAY!!!
billybob says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
3:34 PM
  Looks like we had an incompetant judege. Guess its normal to have stains on the carpet of a judge. What about re election. He could possibly get back on the ballot. What about Jack Tillman. He is no stranger to the stand. They hould have subpoenaed him. He was Sheriff when inmates were checked out. Seems to me that at least he culd have been charged for using public office for personal gain. Oh and thanks to the feds sleeping on the job. This case could have been tried better by JUDGE EDDIE SMITH IV!!!
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
3:03 PM
  The white guy will get off just like Thomas did (figuratively speaking, of course). They are all protected under the Good Ol Boy system. I think its refreshing that this system has been extended to the black community. Now, we can get back to the whole Haves and Have-Nots way of life. That social system makes things a little easier to understand. Tyson a racist? If it wasnt for him, Thomas would have never beat this. Thomas should be kissing the DA Offices butt. If theres anyone whos a racist, then its Thomas for not offering the Whack N Jack to some white folks.
sweetpea says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:58 PM
  I think that you are all missing the point. What will happen to the white guy that supposedly was protecting your children and had porn on his computer. Will that racist DA go after him. I think not. YOU GO Herman. I am glad that you are free.
jm says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:49 PM
  You’re right proud, there are probably a lot more. Most sexual assaults against women (by men) are never reported. The numbers jump dramatically for men. The vast majority will take their secret to the grave. It’s hard enough to tell a trusted friend and downright traumatic to testify about it in court. Then there’s the fact that you subject yourself to judgment of your own character. It’s all part of the package. Is she a slut? Did she ask for it? Is he gay? Is he a career criminal who can’t even count his arrests? A crackhead? Scum? If you want to prosecute, it’s open season on the victim as well. If there are more, I doubt they’ll be scrambling to get in line to go next.
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:35 PM
  When will Mobile change this is why I left. Has Thomas ever mentored a WOMAN. His wife should RUN to the doctor. Down low men are the nastiest men there are looked to what he stooped to. He may have got off, but has he really...Tyson pack up and leave YOU let the city down. This is a disgrace. They LET him off to keep from paying the victims or retrying his cases. Hes a sickko they reallllly needed to talk to the women he tried to date they got bad reps because he was a freak. Trying to pledge people if they let you get your freak on. Damn disgrace. I dont want to be a fly on the wall around him. KARMA or reaping what yo sow. Young men who testified your voice was heard get yourself some help while youre incarcerated. Jimmy G Dont thank God. Thank Bob Clark." Lord forgive him for they know not what they do!!!Why?How could you say that God bless you.p.s. let Hermie keep you son, nephews and mentor them. At let Clark knew to thank God for showing MERCY.
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:26 PM
  So, would I rather choose to be in a room with a pervert who is above the law poising as a law-abiding, upstanding, Christian pillar of the community or a criminal who cannot hide what they really are? I choose the criminal, because at least I would know what I was getting into.
maggie says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:25 PM
  wellllllll, I hate to say I told you so but I told you so. Judicial Immunity
ellij says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:08 PM
  I think it all boils down to the victims being such scum (crackheads, murders, etc. ). Im sure most were telling the truth, but when you are a convicted crack dealer, murder, you lose credibility. I am sure many jurors felt that these guys probably deserved at the least a good spanking! I mean, yes, Thomas was guilty and chose his vitims well (nobody said he was dumb), but honestly, if you had to be alone in a room right now with Thomas or one of the victims, who would you chose?
proud says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
1:58 PM
  This is a terrible day in the City of Mobile. I am outraged!!! This case is embarrassing I feel for the victims. Think about it... if you were a man how much would you really say in public that happened to you by another man, a judge would you tell if he penetrated you, I dont think so. So who is taking into account that these guys are still in prison or jail and they were not able to tell all out of fear that this would happen to them again in lock up. I am a Angry Black Educated Man and I am MADD AS HELL!!!! I hope they sue the hell out of Thomas. I hope the Feds prosecute him. I hope he is never able to practice law again. If thinks now that he is free to do as he please. Out of 100 cases none of them stuck what the hell? I would not be surprised if he ends up shot. The DA in this conty must go. I like John Tyson... but its time for him toi go. His office has lost its power, he only goes after the little man. Where is Steve Garidian? Was this a host all along? Who believes in the system now Tyson Must Go!!!!! Tyson Must Go!!!!! Tyson Must Go!!!! I am so Damm angry I can hardly type this message. What the Hell? It could be hundreds of guys out there, was the county and state afraid that they would have to go back and review all of Thomases cases? I think so. was they afraid they would be sued? This will have terrible backlash!! Cant wait until election time!!
bama478 says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
1:11 PM
  â€? Jimmie Gardner, president of the Mobile County Chapter of the NAACP and assistant police chief for the city of Prichard. Dont thank God. Thank Bob Clark."
finliotego says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
12:39 PM
  I dont think its the race card that won this for Thomas. Its the rich card. I find this to be a milestone for race relations in the New South. This officially proves that the Good Ol Boy system works for people of all colors now. From here on out, you dont have to be rich, white, and connected to be above the law in Mobile. You just have to be rich and connected. PRAISE JESUS!
blwpyrtv says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
5:28 AM
  The race card may have been dropped, but I suspect Thomas owes his acquittal more to the "discipline card." Americans are so enamored of corporal punishment (especially of "young punks") that they are loath to acknowledge that butt-beatings could take on such a sinister aspect--DNA evidence be damned.
smac says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
4:24 AM
  Unbelieveable. Did not expect that. Now what? Good job covering the story, Lagniappe. Im sorry that it didnt end the way most of us think it should. I think Ill pass on quoting you jg. I dont know if it was race or not, but something went wrong somewhere and I dont think justice was served today.
jgbrules says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
3:43 AM
  well well well, the race card was dropped, it exploded and another guilty black man is free to walk the streets. i dont think this kind of justice is what martin luther king jr envisioned. its just amazing that the black community would support this guy to the death. it just goes to show you how eaisily that community can be manipulated by simply someone dropping the race card. if men like herman thomas and david thomas are all the black community has for its leaders, no wonder its in the shape it is. "the black community is its own worst enemy". you can quote me on that if you like!!!!
noguy says:

OCTOBER 27, 2009
2:13 AM
  Why is anyone surprised by this verdict? The DA did a pathetic job, with over 75% of the counts thrown out. The jury had to assume that this translated to a very weak case. What will be interesting is how the anger in the black community during 2010 elections will translate against Graddick, Figures, and Tyson for working against Thomas. Having said all of this, many do not believe that justice was served today. I can already see the Republican DA candidate ads in October 2010.
judicial_watch says:

OCTOBER 26, 2009
10:46 PM
  Just like the O.J. Simpson jury. Sadly, the race card does work, and Bob Clarke and Herman Thomas knew it, thats why they played it. I hope "ladyv033" and the other Thomas supporters wont mind letting Herman babysit their teenage sons (or grandsons) alone for a weekend.
deano says:

OCTOBER 26, 2009
10:25 PM
  If the ex-judge had been found guilty of all charges, would his courtroom supporters have shouted, “Thank you Jesus! God conquers all! He is the judge of all, thank you Jesus!â€?? I doubt it. Once again we have painful evidence that life isnt fair. Sad. So sad.
ladyv033 says:

OCTOBER 26, 2009
10:18 PM
  ALL... are innocent until found guilty... "GOD answers prayers" I pray all will be ok.
bamagranny says:

OCTOBER 26, 2009
9:40 PM
  Being found "not guilty" doesnt make someone innocent - and I believe we all know that. I feel bad for the guys who stuck their necks out to testify against this apparently very powerful man. The whole situation is just very, very sad.

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