A Mobile County Circuit Judge has publicly apologized after facing backlash for asking a pool of potential jurors that included Asian Americans whether everyone there spoke “Engrish.”
Judge Jim Patterson made the apology Tuesday after making the comments while addressing a group of potential jurors Aug. 19. One of the individuals in the jury pool then posted social media about the “Engrish” comment and other remarks Patterson made that day.
“Jury duty summons for the first time in Mobile. So far, Judge Patterson has said ‘broke ass’ three times and asked if everyone spoke ‘Engrish’ in a racist anti-Asian accent,” the post read. “Horrified me and probably horrified the one Asian man who went up to the bench.”
Lagniappe reached out to the owner of profile who made the post, but did not receive a response. Paterson also declined to speak to a reporter, though he directed questions to a public apology posted on his personal and campaign Facebook pages the day after the comment was made.
In the post, Patterson said it was a joke and denounced any attempt to label him as a racist.
“Yesterday, while qualifying the jury pool, I made a joke in very poor taste about whether everyone could speak English. I immediately recognized and apologized for my blunder, and I do so again,” Patterson wrote Tuesday. “The liberals call everyone they disagree with a racist nowadays. I am nothing of the kind.
As for the “broke-ass” comments, Patterson did not apologize. That is unsurprising given that Patterson has publicly called Mobile County’s court system underfunded in a plethora of colorful ways since he was elected in 2016. He said as much in his Facebook post, too.
“As for saying the court system was ‘dead ass broke,’ I certainly did,” he wrote. “I have led the battle to restore court funding in this circuit and in the state and I don’t apologize for telling the jurors how broke we are and why it was so important that these jurors were there in a special jury setting where we had to scrape up the money to even get them to the courthouse.”
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