Judge accused of making homophobic and racist remarks agrees to resign for health reasons


Judge accused of making homophobic and racist remarks agrees to resign for health reasons

A New York judge has agreed to resign and never again seek judicial office following allegations that she made homophobic and racist remarks.

Judge Harriet L. Thompson, 67, had denied making many of the remarks. But she agreed to resign for health reasons after she produced a letter from her doctor stating that she was not medically fit for an ethics trial, according to a Jan. 9 press release by the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct and a stipulation in her case.

Among her alleged comments are that “being gay is an abomination to mankind” and that Hispanic people had a “deceitful trait that goes way back to biblical times,” the New York Times reports. She was also accused of failing to act on cases in a timely manner, according to the stipulation.

Other publications with coverage include the Brooklyn Paper, Law.com, the City and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The Legal Profession Blog also noted the case.

Thompson was one of two surrogate’s court judges in Brooklyn, which oversees matters such as wills and trusts, guardianships and adoptions. She had been suspended with pay since December 2021, but a judge ruled last month that court administrators didn’t have the authority to suspend her. The opinion did not allow Thompson to start hearing cases, however.

Some of the allegations against Thompson stemmed from her dispute with the public administrator who handled the estates of deceased people before her court. She had alleged he discriminated against Black employees, and she refused to hear matters if the administrator was personally working on them. She also alleged the administrator hired only young white men for temporary jobs.

The administrator said the allegations were untrue and Thompson made them because he was gay. An investigation found Thompson’s allegations to be unsubstantiated, according to Law.com.

A hearing in the ethics case had been scheduled for next week.

Thompson was represented by Andrew S. Fisher. He told the New York Times that the stipulation in the ethics case included no finding of wrongdoing, and Thompson would have “vigorously defended herself” if she hadn’t experienced medical problems.

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