The Fishy Nature of Things,
By Rob Holbert, Lagniappe, Issue #198, February 23, 2010

About a month ago I was watching the late news and caught my first glimpse of new U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District, Kenyan Brown. My interests perked up for a spilt second thinking he might be getting around to addressing something that clearly must be done. But no.

Frying the literal fish before the proverbial fish seems to be OK with the DOJ.

Our new U.S. attorney’s first big splash on the local scene was to announce a 28-count indictment by a federal grand jury of three guys who were trying to mislabel, misbrand and smuggle fish in order to screw customers and beat Uncle Sam out of his fat share.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in paying my fair share of taxes (It IS tax season. What’d you expect me to say?), can’t fathom the thought of eating mislabeled fish and think fish smugglers are the lowest form of life next to fish rustlers, but it seems like Mr. Brown might have — ahem — bigger fish to fry.

As we’re all painfully aware, thanks to a combination of expired statutes of limitations, a slipshod (if not intentionally rigged) judge and one juror who seemed to have made it through voir dire without being totally honest, ex-Circuit Court Judge Herman “Spanky” Thomas is a free man. After managing to skate on more than 100 charges initially brought against him for things related to allegedly checking prisoners out of the county jail, bringing them to his office in Government Plaza and spanking and sexing them up, Thomas is now seeking to be elected to the state senate.

While Hermie’s attempt to get back in public office seems ludicrous, much more ludicrous to me is the fact that he has never faced any federal charges for what appears to have happened while he wore the black robe and wielded the fraternity paddle of a Mobile County Circuit Court judge. And after looking further and further into the situation, the feds’ avoidance of a case against Thomas seems to be criminal on the high end or a massive malfeasance of duty on the low end.

If you weren’t too bleary-eyed from Mardi Gras to read our news story in the last issue of this fine birdcage liner, you may have seen where Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson claims he was sandbagged by the feds during the case. Tyson said they told him “three Christmases ago” they would indict Hermie within months. The DA says he was instructed to let them go after the indictments while he was to handle putting a case together for the Judicial Inquiries Commission to get them to toss Thomas off the bench. More than two years later, Tyson says, acting U.S. Attorney Deborah Rhodes phoned and said the feds were “recusing” themselves from the case, dumping it back in his lap with potential criminal charges that were arguably expired as year-old milk.

Now we can all get into a debate about why Big John didn’t pull the trigger before the statutes ran out, but what can’t be argued is that the feds definitely had a better opportunity to prosecute Herman for civil rights violations, if he were in fact doing things to prisoners. Despite the FBI asking a lot of questions and interviewing a number of people involved with the cases, the DOJ put this baby on ice and won’t say why.

As long as a couple of years ago, there were rumors floating around that there was trouble on the federal end of the investigation. Folks claiming to have ins with the FBI said certain people were being moved around and shifted away from the case. And others were concerned because over in the U.S. Attorney’s office, one of Thomas’ old cronies Vicki Davis had landed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Many feared she might try to pull strings for her buddy. But after Tyson’s claims, it seemed there might be more to all this.

When I spoke with the FBI, they were unusually friendly and frankly said more than I’d expected. They couldn’t divulge much, but did admit there’d been an investigation where they’d turned over their findings, but gotten some word back from Washington they couldn’t reveal. Brown’s office wouldn’t say squat about anything, period.

Oh, and by the way, Mobile’s former FBI Agent in Charge, Debra Mack, abruptly left about six months ago, went to D.C. for a couple of months then unexpectedly retired early. On her way out the door she hired a D.C. lawyer for some reason or another. That’s fishier than any crap or carp Kenyan Brown’s indicted anyone for lately.

When I asked the DOJ — by e-mail of course, since they won’t speak on this matter in person — several questions about the Mack situation and why the hell they had supposedly “recused” themselves from the case, all I got was a flat no comment. To five different questions. No comment. Very, very fishy.

Look, I sat through Hermie’s trial and everyone I know who did came out of there saying the defense all but admitted he was whoopin’ prisoners’ asses. Even if you want to play some kind of “what if” game and suppose all those dudes were lying about the sexual stuff, and even if you believe The Sperm Fairy waived his magic wand and deposited semen on the carpet in Hermie’s secret office, a judge spanking prisoners is a massive civil rights violation. Now he’s been disbarred and admitted in the hearing to spanking a few prisoners. Wow! [Emphasis added]

It’s probably a joke to think this Justice Department is going to admit anything in this matter. Besides, it appears Herman Thomas has someone high up the food chain watching out for him. But one thing that seems as plain as the bowtie on Hermie’s neck, is this U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department is absolutely corrupt and without an ounce of honor or integrity. At the very minimum they owe the people of this area the courtesy of publicly lying to us about why they recused themselves from the case.

It’s the least they can do.

Alabama’s Troy King long ago cemented his ranking as the worst attorney general in America, so expecting him to anything is a waste of time. It’s also highly doubtful Congress will use its oversight power to examine this travesty.

Turning to the DOJ was the last chance we had for justice possibly to be done. But it seems quite obvious Kenyan Brown is just going to be the latest fed to settle in and tolerate the fishy smell emanating from his office.


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Spanking Can Be Sexual Abuse