An Alabama judge has been suspended following allegations made by the state’s ethics commission that he repeatedly cursed in his courtroom, called the state’s 77-year-old governor “MeMaw,” told defendants they would be sexually assaulted in jail, and made fun of an Asian juror.
James T. Patterson, a Republican who was elected as the 13th Circuit Judge for Mobile County in 2016, was suspended last month as a result of a complaint from the Judicial Inquiry Commission, a state agency tasked with looking into complaints against Alabama judges.
The complaint, which was made public on Wednesday, describes Patterson’s inappropriate behavior over a number of years, including a situation in which he made fun of an Asian accent by asking a jury pool that included an Asian American if they all spoke “Engrish” in 2019.
In his remarks to the jury pool, Patterson referred to his remark as “a stupid, stupid joke.”
Following his racist remark, Patterson wrote on his Facebook page, “The liberals call everyone they disagree with a racist nowadays. “I am not like that at all.”
In addition, Patterson mentioned that inmates had been sexually assaulted.
The complaint claimed that Judge Patterson repeatedly warned defendants that they would be “butt raped in the penitentiary” while covering a docket for the presiding judge.
The 77-year-old Republican governor Kay Ivey was also made fun of by the judge, who referred to her as “Governor MeMaw” for her decision to order people to stay at home at the beginning of the pandemic.
The judge frequently used inappropriate language in the courtroom and at least once caused the mother of a defendant to cry, according to Patterson’s former court reporter and an assistant district attorney who testified before the commission.
The complaint claimed that Judge Patterson had used the words “fck,” “sht,” “bastard,” “as,” and “ashole” in court. Judge Patterson allegedly used the word “as” frequently in court as if it were his favorite word, according to his former court reporter.
The commission accused Patterson of having an improper temperament and demeanor as well as abusing his position as a judge. The Associated Press claims that removing him from office is a possibility.
According to the complaint, Judge Patterson’s actions “have diminished the public’s confidence in the integrity, dignity, and decorum of the judiciary and brought the judicial office into disrepute.”