An Alabama judicial body has removed an elected state judge over repeated instances of inappropriate conduct that included actions unbecoming a court officer as well as unprofessional comments about colleagues.
Law & Crime reports that now-former Judge Nakita Blocton of Jefferson Couty was relieved from the bench and ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings via a Dec. 10 special court order resulting from a complaint filed in May by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission.
The nine-judge panel cited a pattern and practice of “making inappropriate comments” in referencing several instances that included Blocton calling one judge a “fat b*tch,” referring to another as an “Uncle Tom,” and calling a staffer who worked for her a “heifer.”
The nine-judge panel also said that Blocton’s comments amounted to “a pattern of abuse” that was directed towards staff members, attorneys who appeared before her court, and litigants involved in cases she oversaw. The “heifer” term was also cited again in the same context, while the report also said she “belittled another employee” without providing additional details, Law & Crime reported.
When she realized that she could face discipline, the outlet added, Blocton tried to cover up the incidents, though she failed to succeed.
“Judge Blocton also ordered employees to allow her to see their private cellphones so that information that might be relevant to the Commission’s investigation could be deleted and she instructed them to provide to her their private login information to their work computers,” says the order in the ‘findings’ section.
In addition, the panel also determined that Blocton was a bad boss who had a poor management style.
“Judge Blocton made her employees work unreasonable hours, including excessive, unproductive, and unnecessary late night and weekends, and she made repeated threats to fire employees in an attempt to intimidate them,” the order said. “Blocton also called an attorney, forcing the attorney to beg Judge Blocton not to fire an employee who had spoken with a litigant about the harm she had suffered due to the delay in resolving the litigant’s case.”
But even though she spent an excessive amount of time at her office, Blocton nevertheless “failed to promptly dispose of many cases assigned to her,” said the order.
“Judge Blocton is unable to effectively remedy her backlog of cases,” the order noted further. “Two judges were specially appointed to handle Judge Blocton’s backlog.”
The order also cited Blocton for “dishonesty and deception.”
“This behavior included Judge Blocton’s use of Facebook aliases to communicate directly with litigants and to provide information to litigants in cases, asking potential witnesses to delete evidence relevant to the Commission’s investigation, and attempting to influence the testimony of witnesses (or potential witnesses) in this matter,” the nine judges found unanimously.
All total, the nine-judge panel found that the former jurist violated eight canons of judicial ethics, which are rules that have been devised by and for judges in Alabama.
She is now said to be considering her options, according to her defense attorney, Emory Anthony.
“We were trying to keep her on the bench, and we were disappointed they removed her from the bench,” he told Above the Law.
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