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.
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.