Lee County Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson alleges racial harassment in his lawsuit seeking an injunction.
“Because of racial bias, influential white persons have initiated numerous charges against plaintiff Thompson before the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission,” his complaint says. “Some of these charges involved actions identical or nearly identical to actions taken by white judges, against whom these white persons made no complaints to the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission.”
Thompson’s complaint says the extensive pattern of charges resulted in him being removed from office. The complaint says the final decision to remove Thompson from office became effective by a Mississippi Supreme Court mandate issued Aug. 13.
Waide, who is white and a noted attorney in discrimination cases, said Thompson has a terrific reputation as a judge among lawyers in the area. He said Thompson is independent and some people hold that against him and his race.
“His race had absolutely zero to do with it,” said Commission on Judicial Performance Executive Director Darlene Ballard. “I was insulted that was even implied … It wasn’t my first encounter with Judge Thompson. Before now, he had never had that argument that we were racially biased against him.”
However, Judicial Performance and the Mississippi Supreme Court said Thompson had violated several canons of conduct, which led to the findings that he should be removed from office. During his hearing before the Commission on Judicial Performance, Thompson presented no testimony or evidence of racial harassment or racial bias, the state high court said in its unanimous opinion removing him from office.
“It was things he had either been warned about or reprimanded about in the past that he had repeated again this time,” Ballard said. “So he has been given opportunity after opportunity to learn and do the right thing. At some point, when you don’t show progress, this is what happens.”