State Watch

Alabama judge facing allegations of racism, sexism

An Alabama judge has been accused of making sexist and racist comments in conversations with employees, with a state judicial panel outlining numerous allegations against him in a report.

The 78-page complaint filed by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission accuses probate Judge Randy Jinks of “frequent inappropriate demeanor,” including racist and sexist comments and other inappropriate conduct.

Allegations from the report, which was issued in March, were highlighted by NBC News on Wednesday. An attorney for the since-suspended judge blasted the complaints, attributing them to “disgruntled” employees.

Jinks, elected in 2018, is accused of mouthing racial slurs on multiple occasions. The document points to one instance in which Jinx allegedly minimized the police killing of George Floyd.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the police killing [Floyd],” Jinks allegedly told an employee during a phone conversation.

Jinks denied that he made that remark, telling the commission, “There exists no excuse for the killing of George Floyd, that watching the video is sickening, unconscionable, inhumane and horrifying.”

When Jinks’s only Black employee bought a new car in 2019, the judge allegedly asked him if he sold drugs to afford it. He also reportedly agreed when another employee referred to the same Black employee as a “typical lazy, good-for-nothing Black man,” the complaint states.

The complaint also highlighted allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace, alleging that the judge’s “inappropriate demeanor disgusts, embarrasses, and upsets those employees who have routinely witness it.”

According to the document, the judge frequently spoke about his sexual preference to employees and detailed his relationship with his wife. Last summer, Jinks allegedly sent a video of a woman performing a striptease to an employee and insisted that he watch it even though the employee said he was busy with poll books.

The report included more than 60 paragraphs detailing sexually inappropriate incidents. 

In response to the allegations, Jinks argued that his comments were made in “personal and private” conversations.

Jinks was also accused of routinely cursing at his employees, loudly expressing anger and practicing generally unprofessional conduct. Part of his behavior that the commission deemed to be “unbecoming” included playing loud music and videos in his office that his employees could hear and sending “inappropriate and unprofessional” emails.

In a statement to NBC, Jinks’s attorney Amanda Hardy asserted the complaints were “concocted by a few disgruntled” employees, adding the complaint “fails to mention all exculpatory evidence and testimony.”

Hardy claimed that accusations of racism against her client were “fabricated to generate antagonism with the public, the Court of Judiciary, and the media.”

Jinks was suspended in March, pending a decision from the Court of the Judiciary on whether his alleged behavior warrants punishment. Punishment could entail a longer suspension or removal from office. No trial date has been set, NBC News reported.

“Judge Jinks fails to acknowledge the inappropriateness of much of his demeanor and thus has failed to accept responsibility for it,” the commission said in its report. “Although he denies some of the allegations, for most allegations, he offers excuses and shifts blame to others, primarily to employees under his supervision.”

Darrius Pearson, a former clerk under the previous probate judge and the Black employee who Jinks disparaged, told NBC that the judge was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Pearson added that Jinks had once threatened his employment when he suspected Pearson of taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest.

“He is very arrogant, pompous, and he thought he couldn’t be touched,” Pearson added.

NBC noted that the nine-member commission receives dozens of complaints every year and most fail to rise to the level of formal charges that are filed with the Court of the Judiciary.

University of Alabama School of Law professor Jenny Carroll, told the outlet that a judge’s behavior outside the courtroom is still important and can call into question their rulings

“What if people coming before you are women and Black? If they don’t get the outcome they wanted, they’ll be wondering was it because their claim wasn’t strong enough or perhaps the judge carries explicit biases,” Carroll said.

Tags Alabama Murder of George Floyd racist comments Sexism Workplace misconduct

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