Alabama Court of the Judiciary

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Note: State judicial disciplinary agencies do not have appellate jurisdiction or authority over federal court judges and justices.

Alabama

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary is a constitutionally mandated court component of the state judicial disciplinary agency in Alabama. The court convenes to hear complaints filed by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, and has the authority to sanction, censure, suspend, remove or retire judges who have committed misconduct or are incapacitated.[1]

Composition of the court

The Court of the Judiciary consists of nine members, four judicial and five non-judicial.[2]

  • One judicial member is from the state appellate courts, other than the supreme court. This member is selected by the supreme court and serves as the chief judge for the court of the judiciary.
  • Two judicial members are from the circuit courts and are selected by the Alabama Circuit Judges' Association.
  • One judicial member is from the district courts and is selected by the Alabama District Judges' Association.
  • Two non-judicial members are members of the Alabama State Bar and are selected by the bar's governing body.
  • Three non-judicial members are members of the public and are appointed by the governor.

Members of the court

A current list of the members can be found on the Court of the Judiciary website.

Case flow description

  • Formal cases begin when the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission files a case through the attorney general with the Court of the Judiciary secretary.[3]
  • The judge whom the complaint has been filed against is served a notice and is allowed 30 days to make a response.[4][5]
  • A court date is set, and a trial proceeds with at least a quorum of members of the court.[6][7]
  • In general, the court follows the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure and the rules of evidence used in civil cases in Alabama.[8]
  • Decisions of the court must be given within 10 days of the end of the trial.[9]

Rules of procedure

The Court of the Judiciary has 27 rules of procedure:[10]

Rules of appeal

Court decisions

A list of recent decisions can be found on the Court of the Judiciary Overview website.

History

The Court of the Judiciary was officially established in December of 1973.[11][12]

Date Developments
1901 The Alabama Constitution of 1901 (section 173 and 174) stated that supreme court justices could be removed by the state legislature through impeachment. Other judges could be removed by the supreme court.[12]
1972 Amendment 317 to the Alabama Constitution established the Alabama Judicial Commission.[12]
1973 Amendment 328 to the Alabama Constitution established the Judicial Inquiry Commission and the Court of the Judiciary as part of a complete revision of the judicial section of the Constitution.[12]
1974 The Alabama Supreme Court creates the Rules of Procedure for the Court of the Judiciary.[11]
1996 Amendment 581 to the Alabama Constitution increased the number of members on the Court from five to nine, and made changes to the selection process.[12][13][14]
2001 Without prior notification, the state supreme court amended procedural rules. One major change regarded rules of confidentiality, requiring that complaints had to be verified and complainant names were given to judges. This let to a significantly reducing the number of complaints filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission.[11]
2002 The Alabama Supreme Court creates the Standing Advisory Committee for Rules of Procedure for the Court of the Judiciary and the Judicial Inquiry Commission to help make future rule change recommendations.[11]

Canons of Judicial Ethics

Below is the summary of the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics. Full documentation is available at the Alabama Supreme Court and State Law Library website.

Canon 1. A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Canon 2. A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities.
Canon 3. A judge should perform the duties of his office impartially and diligently.
Canon 4. A judge may engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
Canon 5. A judge should regulate his extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his judicial duties.
Canon 6. A judge should regularly file reports of his financial interests.
Canon 7. A judge or a judicial candidate shall refrain from political activity inappropriate to judicial office.[15]

Contact information

Court of the Judiciary
300 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 242-4093
Fax: (334) 242-4017

See also

External links

References

AlabamaAlabama Supreme CourtAlabama Court of Civil AppealsAlabama Court of Criminal AppealsAlabama Circuit CourtsAlabama Municipal CourtsAlabama Probate CourtsAlabamaAlabama countiesAlabama judicial newsAlabama judicial electionsJudicial selection in AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of AlabamaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitAlabamaTemplate.jpg