Mid-South judge under fire after controversial Facebook posts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South judge is under fire after a series of controversial Facebook posts – what some are calling racist.

And FOX13 dug into the judge’s past, learning new accusations against him as well.

Multiple criminal attorneys who argue cases in Criminal Court Judge James Lammey’s court shared interesting information regarding his past.

One attorney said Lammey drug tests African-Americans and asks them if they have children out of wedlock, but he doesn’t do that to white people.

When asked if he considered himself a racist, Lammey said it was an insulting question.

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“No, I’ve got good friends who are black,” said Lammey. “There’s nothing I’ve ever done in my whole life that would indicate that. It’s kind of an insulting question.”

Lammey has accumulated a lot of accolades and knickknacks on his bookshelves in his 13 years as Division 5 Criminal Court judge, from crosses to Mardi Gras beads.

However, one criminal attorney said that is a “story 15 years too late.”

Lammey caught the attention of local media outlets after he shared a link to an article written by Holocaust denier David Cole on April 5. The article contained such offensive language that we chose not to repeat it.

“The article was, ‘Stop with the gollums already.’ He starts off with, ‘We Jews love our gollums.’ How was I supposed to know this guy is a Holocaust denier? I had no idea he was. I still don’t,” said Lammey.

Lammey defended his position to FOX13, saying he didn’t realize his Facebook wasn’t private and doesn’t think anything he shared was inappropriate. He also told FOX13 that one of his best friends, now deceased, was Jewish.

Several attorneys told FOX13 his conduct stretches beyond social media, including the drug tests of only black defendants.

“When someone is standing before you and they’re stammering, it doesn’t matter what color they are. I’ve revoked the bond of many a white person over the years because they came in intoxicated,” Lammey said.

Steve Mulroy, a professor at the University of Memphis School of Law, said it sounds like he may have crossed the line with the posts.

“The judicial rules, the cannons and the rules say the judge may not in any way manifest, by word or deed, prejudice or bias on the grounds of race, religion, or national origin,” Mulroy said. “It sounds like some of the comments he’s quoted as having made, and some of the Facebook posts he’s shared would generate a concern that he’s crossed that line.”

The attorney who spoke with FOX13 said they are doubtful anyone has ever filed a complaint about the judge with the Board of Judicial Conduct.

However, the disciplinary council said they have been made aware of the posts but could not confirm whether or not the board is investigating Lammey.