By David Arnett
Friday, 30 June 2006
A Creek County jury in Bristow, Oklahoma convicted former Creek County judge Donald Thompson of exposing himself by using a sexual device while he presided over court cases. The verdict came almost three years after the bizarre allegations first surfaced beyond courthouse gossip.
Thompson, 59, was ordered to spend Thursday night in the same county jail where he had sent hundreds of defendants during a judicial career lasting nearly 24 years. The jury deliberated five hours before announcing the verdict.
The jury found Thompson guilty on four counts of indecent exposure and recommended one year in prison and a ten-thousand dollar fine on each count. The charges involved four jury trials in 2002 and 2003. After the decision was announced, sheriff’s deputies led Thompson away without handcuffs. Thompson’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14.
Thompson’s former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified that she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 to 20 times. She said she had no idea how often she had seen or heard him use the penis pump. Prosecutors asserted she was unclear about the number because, “it happened all the time” during witness testimony. Three other court employees also testified they saw him expose himself.
Thompson consistently denied the allegations and showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. His wife, Paula, sobbed uncontrollably, was quoted saying, “I hope they’re happy,” as she glared in Foster’s direction.
Defense attorney Clark Brewster told jurors Foster was an unwitting pawn in the Sapulpa Police Department’s plot to remove Thompson.
Prosecution witnesses portrayed Foster as reluctant to get involved until a friend coaxed her to acknowledge what by 2003 had become a widespread courthouse rumor. Shortly thereafter, Foster was subpoenaed by the Council on Judicial Complaints. She answered an investigator’s questions under duress, and Thompson found out and fired her and then also fired his secretary/bailiff, Zelma Hindman, even though she hadn’t yet testified.
Brewster reminded jurors that both women have filed federal lawsuits over their firings.
Nine former jurors testified they heard pumping sounds coming from Thompson’s bench during murder trials. Lawyers and court employees testifying for the defense said they heard nothing unusual during those trials.
The prosecutor said Thompson’s fuzzy memory on important details and the notion that he was a victim of a conspiracy defy common sense.
Brewster said Foster’s stories of what she saw through a thin gap behind the judge’s bench are what defy common sense.
The prosecutor told jurors to remember when considering Thompson’s punishment that Thompson was at the pinnacle of the Creek County judicial system – the same system that is now going to hold him accountable and argued he must be treated no differently from any other defendant. Apparently, the Creek County Jurors agreed.
Last Updated ( Friday, 30 June 2006 )