HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A judgeship in Jefferson County will move to Madison County effective immediately, according to a public statement from Alabama’s Judicial Resources Allocation Commission.
Tom Parker, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and chair of the aforementioned commission, announced the move on Friday. The reallocation takes a judicial vacancy from the 10th Judicial Circuit in Jefferson County and moves to Madison County’s 23rd Judicial Circuit.
In a statement made to News 19’s sister station, CBS 42, Parker said Madison County had a deficit to 3.25 circuit judges.
“While there is a need for 20 judgeships across the State (12 circuit judgeships and 8 district judgeships), the Legislature created this mechanism of reallocation to correct the needs gradually, although it will not take care of the entire 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 retiring from the seat, disagreed with the commission’s decision.
“It’s pretty well a fact that Jefferson County is a Democratic County, and Madison County is a Republican County,” he told CBS 42. “I feel very sad for Ms. Hudson to have paid her filing fee, for her to have expended funds campaigning, for her to have campaigned for months, seven days a week, and then all of a sudden that voice of the people is taken away.”
Alabama Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) said the commission’s decision was a “very bad move.”
“It creates a serious public safety issue,” Smitherman said. “The judges they’re taking are African-American seats, and we only have a few in the state.”
Parker stated 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, applicants will face members of the Judicial Resource Allocation Commission.
The commission will convene to discuss applications and vote on Friday, June 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the Madison County Courthouse.