*The following article contains discussion of sexual assault.
Mobile County Circuit Court judge James T. Patterson has been suspended by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission.
The state agency was charged with investigating a plethora of complaints about Patterson's conduct—including telling defendants they would be sexually assaulted in prison.
Patterson is also accused of mocking an Asian juror, referring to 77-year-old Alabama Governor Kay Ivey as "MeMaw" and frequent swearing in his courtroom.
The complaints against Patterson, a Republican who was appointed in 2016, span several years.
One complainant said Patterson's conduct "brought the judicial office into disrepute."
"Judge Patterson’s conduct has degraded the public’s confidence in the integrity, dignity, and decorum of the judiciary and brought the judicial office into disrepute."
In 2019, Patterson asked a jury pool that included an Asian American whether anybody spoke "Engrish" in a mocking fake "Asian" accent.
Patterson defended his racism as a "stupid, stupid joke."
In a Facebook post following the incident of racist mockery, Patterson blamed "liberals" for being called out on his inappropriate remark.
"The liberals call everyone they disagree with a racist nowadays. I am nothing of the kind."
As if the racism wasn't enough, Patterson also reportedly told defendants on multiple occasions they would be raped in prison, according to the complaint.
"When covering a docket for the presiding judge, Judge Patterson said more than once to defendants that they would be ‘butt raped in the penitentiary.'"
According to court staffers and his former court reporter, professional language and decorum were apparently outside Patterson’s ability while on the bench.
"In court, Judge Patterson has used the following words: 'f*ck,' 'sh*t,' 'bast*ard,' 'a*s,’ and 'a**hole. According to his former court reporter, Judge Patterson used the word ‘a*s’ all the time in court as if it was his favorite word."
According to the Associated Press, Patterson has not yet responded to the charges but, if convicted, he could be removed from office over his conduct.
He was charged with inappropriate demeanor and temperament and abuse of judicial authority.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault, help is out there. You can reach the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline by calling 1-800-656-4673, use their Live Chat tool: https://www.rainn.org/get-help, or visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
In Canada, help is available through the Ending Violence Association of Canada website.
International resources can be found through the Rape Crisis Network Europe website.
If you or someone you know has been sexually abused behind bars and would like support or information, you can find more info here: Just Detention International