Friday, May 14, 2010

The Next Colbert County District Judge?

The election of a new Circuit or District Court Judge is a rarity. Colbert County has certainly fielded a covey of candidates from all areas of the legal world. From reading various forums in the area, it would seem that many don't fully understand the role of District Judge. From The Guide to Alabama Courts:

District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases handled by District Courts include most misdemeanors, some ordinance violations, preliminary hearings for felony cases, and guilty pleas in felony cases that do not include a death penalty.

Some misdemeanors and ordinance violations may be heard by Circuit Courts as lesser-included offenses in a felony case, or if an indictment for a misdemeanor has been returned by a grand jury. District Courts will generally only handle ordinance violations if no Municipal Court exists in the area, and shares jurisdiction with Municipal Courts over criminal acts that violate state laws but can also be prosecuted as municipal ordinance violations.

Civil cases handled by District Courts include general civil cases when the amount in dispute is less than $10,000, excluding interest and costs. District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over most civil cases that involve amounts in dispute between $3000 and $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs. District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Small Claims cases, which are most civil cases that involve less than $3000 in dispute, excluding interest and costs.

District Courts share jurisdiction over juvenile cases with Circuit Courts and can receive certain cases, such as adoptions, from the Probate Court if a proper request is made and granted. When Circuit Courts or District Courts hear juvenile cases, these judges sit as a Juvenile Court and a separate docket is maintained.

District Courts offer a simplified Small Claims procedure for eligible cases involving less than $3000 in dispute. Cases that are beyond the limits of District Court jurisdiction are heard in Circuit Courts, even if the amount of money in dispute is less than $3000. For example, District Courts do not have jurisdiction over certain types of equitable relief, including declaratory judgments, and District Courts are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including actions for negligence against municipalities.

Now that we all know exactly what a District Judge does, who will do it best for Colbert County? We have stated before that Chad Coker and Tina Parker have been the front runners in this contest for quite some time. A close third is Tim Milam, followed by Polly Ruggles and Nathan Johnson.

Both Parker and Coker have impeccable legal credentials, as well as a strong sense of social responsibility. We think that both are destined to serve Colbert County for years to come. At this particular time, after much consideration, we endorse Tina Miller Parker for Colbert County District Judge.


A few years ago, a neighboring county held a large political rally. One candidate, a man who sought the office of Lt. Governor, stood before the vast audience and spoke. At the end of his speech, he asked that those present would vote for him. He then asked that if they could not find it in their hearts to vote for him for Lt. Governor, at least not to vote for Luther Strange.

We have a similar request of you, our readers, today. We don't believe all the strange tales that come to us via e-mail, but when person after person, from all walks of life, e-mail us accounts of dirty campaigning by one individual, then--yes--we believe them to be true.

If you can't find it in your heart to vote for Tina Parker, we humbly ask you to vote for Chad Coker, or to vote for Polly Ruggles or Nathan Johnson. As someone said, if a candidate is this dishonest during an election, what would he be like if elected judge.