A Mobile County Circuit Court judge in Alabama was suspended and charged with inappropriate behavior and temperament on multiple charges, including a racist remark to a potential Asian-American juror.
The Judicial Inquiry Commission, the government agency that investigates complaints against judges, accused Judge James Patterson of violating legal ethics with his inappropriate comments and repeated profanity in court.
The commission filed two charges against Patterson on June 15, including inappropriate conduct and temperament and abuse of judicial authority.
The allegations refer to his comments about Alabama Republican government Kay Ivey. He allegedly referred to the 77 year old as “reg. MeMaw” in a warrant complaining about a stay-at-home order issued during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Patterson is alleged to have used profanity while presiding over court hearings and also referred to: another judge like a “godd*mn snowflake” to lawyers.
The indictment against him also states that Patterson made a racially charged comment in a fake Asian accent to a jury group that included at least one potential Asian-American juror. He reportedly made a inappropriate comment about how everyone in the court could speak English when he saw the juror of Asian descent.
Patterson quickly apologized to the jury for the inappropriate comment. He called his comment a “stupid, stupid joke”, and he denied racism on social media.
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The judge was also charged with making degrading remarks to defendants, which once caused the mother of one defendant to have an emotional outburst.
“The liberals today call anyone they disagree with a racist. I am nothing like that,” Patterson reportedly wrote in 2019, according to the commission’s complaint.
He also apologized to Ivey in a letter, calling his “Gov. MeMaw” notes “a poor attempt at humor amid this Covid-19 mess.” However, according to investigators, he continued to use the term in conversations with lawyers.
Patterson has not filed a response to the commission charges. If convicted, the punishment could be as severe as removal from office.
Featured image via NBC 15