State judge censured for telling defendants to give blood

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A state panel has publicly censured an Alabama judge who told criminal defendants who couldn’t pay their fines to either donate blood or go to jail.

Documents show the Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled Thursday that Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins violated judicial canons with the remarks, delivered in a crowded courtroom in Perry County last September.

Wiggins didn’t immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. But the panel’s ruling says Wiggins acknowledged the misconduct when confronted over his actions.

The decision says 41 people who had cases on the judge’s docket gave blood after his remarks. A mobile blood bank was parked outside the courthouse at the time.

The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint over Wiggins’ actions, which were recorded by a defendant in court.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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