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Brooklyn Judge Who Made Racist, Homophobic Comments Agrees to Resign

Judge Harriett Thompson

She had a history of disparaging the LGBTQ+ community and expressed bias against people with "Hispanic-sounding names."

A New York judge who was facing an upcoming hearing to consider whether she had engaged in misconduct has resigned from the bench.

Last Friday, Brooklyn Surrogate's Court Judge Harriet L. Thompson, 67, gave notice to New York's top administrative judge in a letter that she would retire from the court on March 1, the New York Times reports.

A condition of her resignation agreement was that she would not seek or accept any judicial positions in the future and would discontinue any litigation she had initiated against the Judicial Conduct Commission.

There was to be a hearing on the charges on January 17.

The commission administrator, Robert Tembeckian, released a statement regarding Thompson's resignation.

"The conduct charged against Judge Thompson was egregious and, if established at trial, would have warranted her removal from office," he wrote.

"She now claims a medical condition prevents her from performing judicial duties, which opens a different path in furtherance of the public interest for her immediate and permanent departure from the bench."

Thompson's troubles have been working themselves through the review process.

A senior New York judge wrote in a filing that Thompson said that "being gay is an abomination to mankind" and that Hispanic people had a "deceitful trait that goes way back to biblical times."

An affidavit last year included anti-LGBTQ+ language attributed to Thompson.

"I hate these gay white men," she said before going on that "gay racist fa---ts ... trying to ruin me and get me," and that "Being gay is an abomination to mankind. The Holy Ghost [is] going to get them."

Thompson also said that she "assumed the litigant was a liar" whenever a litigant had a Hispanic-sounding name, according to the filing.

"They have a deceitful trait that goes way back to biblical times," she said. "The men are always stealing, and the women are no better. They lie, steal, and use their vaginas for anything they want."

The Commissioner of Judicial Conduct received a formal complaint regarding those comments and others, which Thompson denied making but were substantiated by an inspector general's report.

While Thompson served on the bench, she clashed with Richard Buckheit, the court's gay public administrator. Thompson, who is Black, accused Buckheit, who is white, of creating a hostile workplace for Black employees and hiring only white men for temporary positions.

Buckheit denied those allegations and said the false claims resulted from Thompson's homophobia.

Andrew S. Fisher, a lawyer for Thompson's lawyer, Andrew S. Fisher, told the Times that the agreement contained "no finding of wrongdoing," adding that "but for the intervention of her medical problems, she would have vigorously defended herself."

Thompson, whose term would have expired on the last day of December 2026, has served as Surrogate's Court judge since 2019. She was a New York City Civil Court judge for seven years before that, beginning in 2011.

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