The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 13, 2012

Former Ala. legislator sentenced to year in jail


Associated Press

— CAMDEN, Ala. (AP) — Former state Rep. James Thomas of Selma has been sentenced to spend one year in jail on a charge of having sexual contact with a female student at the Wilcox County high school where he was principal.

Wilcox County Circuit Judge Jack Meigs gave Thomas the maximum sentence. A jury last month found the 69-year-old Thomas guilty of the misdemeanor sexual contact charge while finding him not guilty of a felony sexual abuse charge.

Thomas' attorney, Lewis Gillis, gave notice that the former longtime legislator will appeal. Before announcing the sentence, the judge turned down a request by Gillis to throw out the conviction.

Meigs set a $25,000 bond for Thomas while his conviction is being appealed. Thomas has been in the Wilcox County Jail since he was convicted.