Judge dismisses ACLU and SPLC lawsuit to block Madison County bench transfer

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A lawsuit regarding a transfer of a judgeship from Jefferson County to Madison County has been dismissed.

On Friday night, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Jimmy B. Pool dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jefferson County Circuit Judge nominee. , Tiara Hudson.

The lawsuit was filed during a circuit judge’s transfer from Jefferson County to Madison County in June. Hudson, a Jefferson County public defender, won the Democratic primary and faced no Republican opposition in the general election, but may never take the seat.

The lawsuit named Governor Kay Ivey, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Tom Parker – who announced the transfer of the Madison County judgeship in June, and Patrick Tuten – the former judge of district of Madison County that Ivey appointed as a circuit judge in July – as defendants.

Hudson’s lawsuit asked the court to declare the transfer an unconstitutional delegation of power by the Alabama legislature.

In his dismissal, Pool gave three reasons for dismissing the complaint.

First, Pool said Hudson was seeking to oust a sitting circuit judge. Under previous rulings and the Alabama Code, this can only be done by challenging the sitting judge’s legal right to hold office, which would require a different kind of legal challenge.

Second, Pool concluded that Hudson lacked the legal standing to challenge the judgeship, asserting that his legally protected rights were not violated with the transfer of the judgeship to Madison County.

Third, Pool said Hudson did not provide a way to remedy the situation.

“The (Alabama) Legislature lawfully created the JRAC (Judicial Resources Allocation Commission) and the Commission lawfully reallocated a circuit judge position from Jefferson County to Madison County,” the judge wrote.

The judge also found that the law creating the JRAC in 2017 precluded Hudson’s argument that the legislature had illegally delegated its authority to the JRAC.

Judge Clyde Jones, who once held the seat before the transfer to Madison County, disagreed with the transfer in a statement to News 19 sister station CBS 42.

“It’s pretty much a fact that Jefferson County is a Democratic county and Madison County is a Republican county. I am very sad that Mrs. Hudson paid her application fee, that she spent campaign funds, that she campaigned for months, seven days a week, and then all of a sudden this voice of the people is carried away.”

Judge Pool, who issued Friday’s order, is also a Democrat.

At the time of the transfer, the commission cited a caseload analysis that showed Madison County needed more judges and Jefferson County had more than enough judges to handle its caseload.


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