Mississippi Judge Faces Removal Over Remarks About “White Folks”

A judicial panel has recommended the most severe penalty of removal for a judge accused of making racially insensitive remarks about “white folks.” The panel is seeking the removal of Leflore County Court Judge Solomon Osborne for making racially charged statements about “white folks” and then allegedly lying about it in an affidavit.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is considering the recommendation. The incident in question occurred in a Sept. 13, 2006, speech to a black political group. Osborne allegedly told the Greenwood Voters League, “White folks don’t praise you unless you’re a damn fool. Unless they think they can use you. If you have your own mind and know what you’re doing, they don’t want you around.”

Osborne later denied making the statement under oath, but the panel obviously did not believe him. The panel found the facts compelling and cause for removal, even though it noted that Osborne “alleges this inquiry … is the result of racial bias because he is a member of the black race … however he offered no evidence whatsoever to substantiate this allegation.”

The commission also cited him for “making a public inflammatory, derogatory statement about all people of the white race, thereby eroding public confidence in the integrity and independence of his court.” It further charged that he was “making a public spectacle of himself.” Click here.

Once again, this case reinforces earlier concerns over elected judges, here, and the perils of even federal judges in speaking to political groups, here.

Of course, this is hardly good news for the Mississippi bar, which seems plagued by such scandals of late. Click here and here.

This not the first time that Osbourne has found himself in trouble over judicial ethics. In 2002 he was suspended for trying to stop repossession of a car owned by his wife and mother-in-law. In 2004 he was suspended for continuing ethical violations related to his private legal practice after becoming a judge.

It may be time for Osbourne to reconsider whether he is meant for the bench. Certainly, the Supreme Court will be considering that very question in the coming weeks after the recommendation of removal, here.

3 thoughts on “Mississippi Judge Faces Removal Over Remarks About “White Folks””

  1. The truth:
    17 month paid suspension for practicing law more than six months after taking the bench.

    Six month suspension without pay for conduct unbecoming a judge during an attempted reposession wherein the repo man suffered permanent brain damage (not at the hands of the Judge).

    Current charges: staements were published in the local paper; citizen complains; Judge states under oath that he did not make the alledged statements; newspaper produces audio recording of judge making the statements.

    Judge is not a victim of a racist establishment. Judge is a victim of his own ineptitude.

  2. Judge Osborne is hated by certain members of the white legal community. The reasons for such hate stem from the fact that he is often a target of the antiquated, outdated sense of racism long practiced in Greenwood, Ms. There are a number of people in the city of Greenwood who consider a black judge an affront, especially a judge that is not interested in sending an overwhelming number of black boys to jail. This and the fact that Greenwood,ms is light years behind other places as far racial unity is concerned,is the real reason why this man is being attacked. For years, judges of a certain color have made outrageous comments about the black citizens of Greenwood but these comments have not made it into the local or national media. To single out Judge Osborne as the reason for the presence of racial strife in this small Mississippi town is ludicrous. Greenwood has never been a town where unconditional racial unity is desired. This is another attempt by the influential racists of Greenwood to oust yet another black judge!

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