Jury Still Deliberating in Parker Trial, Petition to Disbar Judge Marvin Wiggins

Nov 4, 2015

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Jurors hearing the federal retrial of former Madison police officer Eric Parker will be back in court today for a fourth day of deliberations.

Jurors will return to court this morning after telling U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala they were once again unable to come to a unanimous decision in the civil rights case.

The judge is trying to avoid a second mistrial for Parker on charges of violating the rights of 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel by using excessive force during a police stop in February. Parker's first trial ended in a hung jury.

Parker threw Patel to the ground while investigating a suspicious person complaint in a suburban neighborhood.

Patel has said through an interpreter that he doesn't understand English and didn't understand the officer's orders.

A petition calling for Perry County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins to be disbarred has gathered more than 23,000 signatures.

The Care2 petition demands Wiggins be disbarred for forcing low-income offenders to give blood in exchange for credits toward their legal fees, and threatened jail time if they didn’t give blood. That got the attention of the New York Times, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who filed an ethics complaint against Wiggins.

Sara Zampierin is a senior staff attorney with the SPLC. She says Wiggins’s behavior was not only illegal but unethical.

“It’s, number one, a violation of the laws, but also is a violation of judicial ethics, because judges are required to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary, and this really undermines public confidence in the judiciary to make these sorts of orders.”

Wiggins is no stranger to controversy. He was removed from the Board of Trustees at Alabama State last year for conflicts of interest, and was publicly reprimanded by the state bar in 2009 for failing to recuse himself from a case involving family members.

Another presidential contender is making their way to Alabama. APR’s Stan Ingold has more about this week’s visitor.

Republican Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will revisit Alabama on Thursday.

Governor Huckabee will be at the Alabama Republican Party: ALGOP Headquarters in Birmingham at 1:30 p.m. During the event, Governor Huckabee will present his petition and filing fee to Republican Chairwoman Terry Lathan. Huckabee visited Alabama last month, making several stops throughout the state.

In 2008, Governor Huckabee won the Alabama primary election.

Alabama has seen visits from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Bernie Sanders visited via telecast, and Donald Trump.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is coming back to Alabama later this month alongside the National Bar Association.

Hillary Clinton will be the headline speaker for the National Bar’s tour commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Events will be held in Selma, Montgomery, and Tuskegee, Alabama. The commemoration will take place December 1 and will include a tour of the Rosa Parks Museum, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge and other sites linked to the civil rights movement.

In addition to Hillary, speakers include Rosa Parks’ attorney Fred Gray, National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump, and current American Bar Association President Paulette Brown. Brown is the first black woman to lead the American Bar Association. The National Bar Association is a network of predominantly black attorneys and judges.