Saturday, August 19, 2006

Jail is needed for more Judges, especially in Connecticut

(The below was emailed into me with the tag that is from AOL news)

Ex-Judge Gets Four Years for Indecent Exposure

BRISTOW, Okla. (Aug. 8) - Former Oklahoma judge Donald Thompson was sent to prison for four years Friday for exposing himself by using a sexual device while presiding over jury trials.

Donald Thompson, center, retired after nearly 23 years as a judge in 2004. His former court reporter testified that she saw him expose himself during trials at least 15 times between 2001 and 2003.

Talk About It: Post Thoughts

Special Judge C. Allen McCall also ordered that Thompson, 59, pay a $40,000 fine. Thompson was convicted on June 29 on four felony courts of indecent exposure for incidents that took place in his court room in Creek County.

McCall denied motions by Thompson's attorneys to either suspend the sentence or to let Thompson serve prison time on the four counts concurrently, which would have meant Thompson would serve only one year of prison time.

"This is not just a one-time incident, this is a continuing series of offenses," McCall said during the sentencing hearing.

McCall, who usually sits on the bench in Comanche County, said he did not believe the accusations against Thompson were fabricated, as Thompson had claimed.

"People who are out to get a judge find an opponent. They don't concoct a story, especially one this bizarre," McCall said.

Thompson showed no reaction when he was sentenced. McCall denied a defense motion that Thompson be allowed to remain free pending an appeal, despite assurances from Thompson's wife, Paula, and older brother, Jim Thompson of Bristow, that Donald Thompson was not a flight threat. Jim Thompson said his brother was "someone you're proud to walk down the street with."

Donald Thompson was allowed a brief visit with family members before being placed in handcuffs and taken to the state Correction Department's Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.

Thompson served as a state legislator and spent almost 23 years on the bench before he retired in 2004. His former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified at his trial that she saw Thompson expose himself during trials at least 15 times between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he used a device known as a penis pump during four trials between 2002 and 2003.

Thompson, a married father of three grown children, testified that the penis pump was given to him as a joke by a longtime hunting and fishing buddy.

"It wasn't something I was hiding," he said.

He said he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump's handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate.

Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. A whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial. When jurors asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn't heard it but would listen for it.

Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson's robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.

Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson's robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.

Prosecutor Richard Smothermon said McCall handed down a proper sentence.

"I thought the judge did the right thing," Smothermon said. "He treated this defendant the same as every other defendant in Oklahoma.

"Any sex crime is a serious crime. People with sexual deviances are a danger to society."

Defense attorney Clark Brewster said there were grounds for appeal.

"There was repeated, persistent error throughout the trial," he said.

He said Thompson should have been freed pending appeal.

"If this guy is denied bail, then who ever gets bail?" he asked.

Brewster said he'll ask the state Court of Criminal Appeals early next week to overturn McCall's decision not to allow Thompson to remain free during the appeals process. Thompson's attorneys have 10 days to file notice of an appeal of the verdict with that court and 30 days to file the actual appeal.

The office of state Attorney General Drew Edmondson would handle any appeal, said Smothermon, the district attorney for Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties, who was specially appointed to prosecute the case.

A presentencing report prepared by Carmelia Brossett, a senior probation officer for the state Department of Corrections, said Thompson refused to undergo psychosexual testing and that "Thompson's denial of the offense would likely present difficulty, if not inability for treatment providers to provide meaningful and beneficial sex-offender treatment."

Brossett recommended Thompson serve a prison term of an unspecified length. The jury that convicted Thompson recommended that he sentenced to a year in jail for each of the four felonies.

In the presentencing report, Foster said that in her 15 years of working with Thompson, she could not recall him ever changing a jury's verdict.

"He voiced to me on more than one occasion that 12 people's opinions were better than one," she said in the report. "He always sentenced in accordance with the jury's verdict. I believe he should be held to his own standard. I believe that this jury wanted Don Thompson to serve four years in the state penitentiary, and I agree


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