State high court suspends, fines Lee judge

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Lee County Justice Court Judge Rickey W. Thompson was suspended from office for 30 days without pay, effective Thursday.
The Mississippi Supreme Court announced the suspension and that Thompson will be fined $2,000 and assessed a $100 fee before he’s publicly reprimanded in circuit court.
In August 2009, Thompson was accused of “willful misconduct in office” by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, which recommended the penalties to the Supreme Court.
Thompson of Shannon was accused of dismissing 11 no-insurance driver citations without court hearings and telling a man involved in a divorce that he could get anything that belonged to him from the marital home, resulting in a call by the wife to the sheriff’s office.
The Daily Journal was unable to reach Thompson late Thursday for comment.
It’s the second time he’s been reprimanded by the state’s highest court.
In 2007, the Commission on Judicial Performance investigated him and the court ordered a public reprimand and a $100 fine for reasons similar to the 2011 case.
Thompson, District 4′s justice court judge, was re-elected in 2011 without opposition.
In the 24-page order, the court notes that 26 counts were contained in the formal complaint against Thompson, but nine counts were removed from the record, with 11 counts consolidated.
The order also cites six remaining issues in which Thompson improperly interjected himself or interfered with several local cases.
“The commission asserts that the misconduct rose to the level of moral turpitude, and we agree,” the order said.
The court said because Thompson is the only misdemeanor drug-court judge in Lee County, a suspension longer than 30 days would pose a “significant disruption” to the court, and that’s why the $2,000 fine was recommended instead of more suspension time.
Justice Jim Kitchens disagreed, saying that several of the counts against Thompson were not clearly stated and he would send them back to Commission on Judicial Performance for more development.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com