On Friday, October 21, 2022, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a decision removing John Randall “Randy” Jinks, the Probate Judge for Talladega County, for sexually inappropriate and racist behavior in 2021. The case is styled as ‘In the Matter of Judge Jinks’ with case number #57.
The judge was charged with violating Canons 1, 2, 2.A., 2.B., 2.C., 3.A.(3), and 5.C.(4) of the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics, which states:
A Judge Should Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary.
A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All His Activities.
A judge should respect and comply with the law and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
A judge should at all times maintain the decorum and temperance befitting his office and should avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.
A judge should not allow his family, social, political, or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgment. He should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; nor should he convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him. He should not testify voluntarily as a character witness at any hearing before any court or judicial or governmental commission.”
A Judge Should Perform the Duties of His Office Impartially and Diligently.
A judge should be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers,
and others with whom he deals in his official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of his staff, court officials, and others subject to his discretion and control.
A Judge Should Regulate His Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With His Judicial Duties.
On October 29, 2021, the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) ruled to remove Judge Jinks from the bench over racist and sexual behavior, including showing an explicit video to an employee and making inappropriate comments after George Floyd’s murder. In its ruling, the COJ found that the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, which prosecuted the ethics charges, proved by clear and convincing evidence that Judge Jinks violated judicial canons of ethics.
On November 24, 2021, Judge Jinks filed an appeal, citing excess in punishment following a judgment the appeal says was “inconsistent with the evidence adduced at trial.” The judge also denied most of the charges and blamed workers for misinterpreting jokes.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the ouster of Judge Jinks, stating that the judgment of the COJ is supported by clear and convincing evidence.
The opinion reads:
“Judge Jinks argues that the sanction of removal, in this case, is not supported by clear and convincing evidence and that this Court should reject and reduce the sanction imposed. The record indicates that Judge Jinks made multiple racist and racially insensitive comments, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, engaged in inappropriate acts of anger and use of profanity, and, on several occasions, used the prestige of his office for the benefit of others. Those acts were not isolated but occurred on a number of occasions while Judge Jinks was in the probate office acting in his capacity as the probate judge. Those acts were numerous enough to establish a pattern of objectionable behavior on the part of Judge Jinks.”
The opinion continues:
“Judge Jinks argues that this Court should consider certain instances of alleged misconduct on the part of the JIC in mitigation of the sanction the COJ imposed upon him. We note that it does not appear that this issue was raised before the COJ and that it is being raised for the first time on appeal. This Court will not address an issue raised for the first time on appeal.”
The opinion concludes:
“After reviewing the record in this case, we conclude that the judgment of the COJ is supported by clear and convincing evidence. Accordingly, the judgment of the COJ is affirmed.”
A copy of the original filing can be found here.