HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A judgeship in Jefferson County will be transferred to Madison County effective immediately, according to a public statement from the Alabama Judicial Resources Allocation Commission.
Tom Parker, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and chairman of the aforementioned commission, announced the decision on Friday. The reassignment takes a judicial vacancy from the 10th Judicial Circuit in Jefferson County and moves to the 23rd Judicial Circuit in Madison County.
In a statement given to News 19’s sister station CBS 42, Parker said Madison County had a deficit of 3.25 circuit judges.
“While there is a need for 20 judges across the state (12 circuit judges and 8 district judges), the Legislature has created this reassignment mechanism to gradually correct the needs, although it will not take into charges the whole of the need, or the immediacy of the need,” Parker wrote.
The move raises an issue for Tiara Young Hudson, a public defender who won the Democratic nomination for the seat in last month’s primary. She had no Republican opposition in the general election, but now she may never take the seat.
Judge Clyde Jones, who is stepping down from the seat, disagreed with the commission’s decision.
“It’s pretty much a fact that Jefferson County is a Democratic county and Madison County is a Republican county,” he told CBS 42. “I’m very sad that Mrs. Hudson paid her filing fees, that she spent funds campaigning, that she campaigned for months, seven days a week, and then all of a sudden, that voice of the people is taken away from her.
Alabama Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) said the commission’s decision was a “very bad decision.”
“This creates a serious public safety concern,” Smitherman said. “The judges they take are African American seats, and we only have a few in the state.”
Parker said applications for the new judgeship can be obtained from Court Administrator Kim McKoy, whose office is located in Room 327 of the Madison County Courthouse.
A completed application and four copies must be returned to McKoy’s office by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 17. From there, candidates will face members of the Judicial Resources Allocation Commission.
The commission will meet to discuss the nominations and vote on Friday, June 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse.
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