Apparently, Hizzoner first started spanking inmates as long ago as 1999 under the pretense of "mentoring" them. He has since graduated to mentoring sessions involving more intimate approaches to behavior modification.
Herman Thomas had an enviable political record as a black Democrat elected and re-elected in a county overwhelmingly white and increasingly Republican. The respected circuit judge once was the Democratic Party's choice to be the first black federal judge in south Alabama.
I imagine he will argue that this was merely an innovative form of plea bargaining.
Thomas stepped down from the bench in 2007 after the allegations of paddling surfaced and just ahead of a judicial ethics trial that could have forced him out of office. He was indicted on the more-serious charges this past spring by a Mobile County grand jury. If convicted of the most serious charges — sodomy and kidnapping — he faces from 20 years to life in prison. The oldest incident in the charges dates to 1999, his first year as a circuit judge.
The first public claim against Thomas surfaced in lawsuits filed by an inmate in 2001 in Mobile circuit court and in federal court that claimed the judge offered to help him with his case in return for sex. Both lawsuits were dismissed, and Thomas' reputation remained unblemished.