A hearing Wednesday morning lasted less than 10 minutes after Little’s attorney requested Thomason remove himself as judge in the case.
In May 2010, Thomason stepped down from another case in which Little was a plaintiff, stating that “The buffonish Mr. Little wants to defame me and other local Circuit Judges who received campaign contributions from a donor he does not like.” (The judge’s adjective appears to have been a misspelling of “buffoonish.”)
The motion filed by the attorney Wednesday said that recusal, along with opposition to Little which Little believes has been shown by Thomason’s judicial assistant, reveal possible bias against the councilman.
“I will take this motion under advisement and decide in the next, today or tomorrow, about whether I will grant this motion to recuse,” Thomason said.
Little’s attorney, Raymond Johnson, did not present any argument regarding the motion. Thomason said Johnson had said “the motion pretty much sets out his reasons.”
The police organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of its members, former and current members of the Anniston police force, on Nov. 21. It was originally filed against Little and former Councilman John Spain. The lawsuit alleges the two launched a “continual pattern and practice of harassment, intimidation, bullying defamation, negligence, recklessness, wantonness and malice” against the Anniston Police Department. Many of the incidents it lists happened during a City Council inquiry into alleged corruption at City Hall and the Police Department. Some of the incidents involving Little, though, happened on appearances on a talk show or at other appearances outside City Council meetings.
Little has maintained he is just doing his job. After the hearing he reiterated that sentiment.
“I need to address these issues,” Little said. “I’m sitting on the council. If I’m on the council, I’m immune.”
Spain, who resigned his seat on the council in December, was dropped from the lawsuit. Thomason approved the dismissal Wednesday. But the police are continuing the lawsuit against Little.
Attorney Joel Laird, who is representing the police organization, said the delay shouldn’t affect the organization’s case except for the delay. If Thomason declines the motion, the hearing could be rescheduled as early as a couple of weeks.
If the judge recuses himself, the case would be reassigned to another judge. If the case is reassigned it may take longer to reschedule.
Little said even if Thomason steps down and the case is reassigned, he may still ask for a change of venue. He also is uncomfortable with most of the other local judges hearing his case, he said, adding that only one assignment would make him happy.
“Judge (Debra) Jones, that’s the only one,” Little said. “The type of personality she has, she exemplifies herself.”
Star staff writer Laura Camper at 256-235-3545.