Mobile County Circuit Judge James Patterson has reportedly apologized to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for referring to the head of state as “Gov. MeMaw” in an official court order signed April 10 of this year.
Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola confirmed in an email that Patterson had apologized and the governor had accepted his apology. Patterson did not immediately return a call seeking comment for this story.
The term was written in an order by the Republican judge explaining to parties in a civil case before his court why he had canceled Zoom hearings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Based on the governor’s stay-at-home order of 4/3/2020, which came out several days after I had set the (Z)oom hearing on 3/31/2020, this court was of the opinion that it better not even hold virtual hearings because that may require someone (staff person/IT person/lawyer who doesn’t have access to the technology?) to leave home and violate Gov. MeMaw’s order,” Patterson wrote in the April 10 order. “Therefore, I have canceled all (Z)oom hearings I had set ….”
This is not the first time Patterson’s conduct from the bench has raised eyebrows. Just this year, Patterson has had two of his decisions overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court over the course of weeks in June.
As Lagniappe has previously reported, Patterson had a ruling overturned after the justices in the state’s highest court found he “illegally detained” a murder suspect for several months in 2019 after he revoked the defendant’s bail without sufficient cause.
About a week later on June 17, Lagniappe reported the Supreme Court ordered Patterson to reinstate a guilty plea he had previously tossed.
In 2018, the state challenged a Patterson order that would have required Mobile County Circuit Clerk Jojo Schwarzauer to withhold a portion of county court fees directed to state coffers. The Supreme Court got involved in that case and issued a stay, meaning none of the funds were actually withheld.
Last year Patterson also apologized publicly for asking potential jurors if they all spoke “Engrish,” affecting a caricature of an Asian accent that offended some in the courtroom.
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