A rally to protest his indictment on 57 felony charges took place on the east side of Government Plaza Saturday April 4 and capped a flurry of activity over the past two weeks in the case of ex-Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas.

The rally, which took place at noon, featured a crowd of roughly 200 people holding signs and chanting for justice for the former judge, who many of those in attendance seemed to feel is the victim of a racial conspiracy. Speakers included retired Alabama State Port Authority Chief of Police Herbert McCants and President of the Mobile NAACP Jimmie Gardner.

Thomas also spoke briefly but limited his comments at the behest of his attorneys, saying only, “There are three things that are important at this time in my life and are important in your life. That’s faith, family and friends.”

Thomas carried a stack of pre-printed placards to the edge of the gathering, then handed them to another person who handed them out to the crowd before the rally began. They contained slogans asking why Thomas hadn’t been presiding judge when he was the circuit’s longest serving jurist and several admonitions to investigate attorney Joe Kulakowski, among other things. Kulakowski began independently investigating claims of sexual abuse by Thomas about two years ago after he says he learned about it from several clients.

During the rally, McCants offered his opinion that Thomas was being singled out for attempting to become the circuit’s presiding judge, and that his current legal troubles were orchestrated by sitting Circuit Judges Charles Graddick and Joseph “Rusty” Johnston.

“Johnston, Graddick and the good ‘ol boys didn’t want a black presiding judge,” McCants told the crowd. The rally is the latest in a whirlwind of activity in the Thomas case since Lagniappe last published March 25. A brief rundown follows.

March 25
We reported at this time that District Attorney John Tyson had convened a grand jury and that it had been hearing testimony since March 23. Those being brought in to testify included a number of current inmates at Mobile Metro Jail.

March 27
A special Mobile County grand jury returned indictments on 57 felony counts against ex-circuit court judge Herman Thomas, including ethics violations, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sex abuse, first-and-second- degree extortion and first-degree sodomy.

The indictments involve nine alleged victims Thomas supposedly extorted for sexual favors during his time as a judge. Named as victims in the indictments were Jhordis Woods, Necester Warmack, Douglas Hill, Akil Figures, Mitee Meardry, Thaddeus Hale, Deangelo Daughtry, Marcus Vaughn and Darrius Lane.

Figures is the son of state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures. All men are either currently housed in the Mobile Metro Jail, or have spent time there. Normally Lagniappe would not have named victims of alleged sexual abuse, but given the highly charged political nature of this case we believe it is unrealistic to expect they will stay secret and even unfair to Thomas.

Thomas faced a bond of $287,500. He was bonded out of jail Friday afternoon.

March 30
Just three days after being indicted on 57 felony charges, former Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Herman Thomas had his law license suspended by the state bar. He’ll have a hearing on it April 9.

April 3
The Alabama Supreme Court upheld Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Joseph “Rusty” Johnston’s recent order banning his former colleague Herman Thomas from practicing law in his courtroom.