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Alabama Appellate Courts
Voter Guide 2008

A nonpartisan guide to information about the Alabama Courts of Appeal
and the candidates running in those elections in 2008

About the Alabama Courts of Appeal

Composition and Jurisdiction of the Alabama Appellate Courts

Alabama Supreme Court

"The Supreme Court of Alabama is composed of a chief justice and eight associate justices. As the highest state court, the Supreme Court has both judicial and administrative responsibilities.

"The Supreme Court has authority to review decisions rendered by the other courts of the state. It also has authority to determine certain legal matters over which no other court has jurisdiction and to issue such orders necessary to carry out its general superintendence over the courts in Alabama. The Alabama Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all appeals where the amount in controversy exceeds $50,000 and appeals from the Alabama Public Service Commission.

"The chief justice is the administrative head of the state's judicial system. The Supreme Court may make rules governing administration, practice, and procedure in all courts. Under this authority, rules of practice and procedure and judicial administration have been adopted to eliminate many of the technicalities which cause delay in the trial courts and needless reversals in the appellate courts."

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

"The Court of Civil Appeals consists of five judges, the most senior judge serving as the presiding judge. This court has original appellate jurisdiction in all civil appeals where the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000. The Supreme Court may transfer to the Court of Civil Appeals civil cases appealed to the Supreme Court and within its appellate jurisdiction, with some exceptions.

"The Court of Civil Appeals has jurisdiction of all appeals from administrative agencies in which a judgment was rendered in the circuit court. The court also exercises jurisdiction over appeals in workmen's compensation cases and domestic relations cases, including annulment, divorce, alimony, child support, adoption, and child custody cases."

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

"[The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals] is composed of five judges, one of whom is elected by the members of the court to serve as presiding judge. The Court of Criminal Appeals hears all appeals of felony and misdemeanor cases, including violations of city ordinances and all post-conviction writs in criminal cases."

Source:  Alabama Judicial System Online, official web
site of the Unified Judicial System of Alabama

Qualifications for and Election to the Alabama Appellate Courts

Justices on the Alabama Supreme Court and judges on the Court of Civil Appeals and on the Court of Criminal Appeals are selected in partisan (by political party), statewide elections. (Note:  Both justices and judges are referred to here as "jurists".)

To qualify for selection as a jurist to any of the Alabama appellate courts, a person must be licensed to practice law in the state of Alabama, have resided in the state for a minimum of one year, and be no more than 70 years of age.

Each jurist serves a term of six years. If a vacancy occurs before the normal end of a jurist's term, the governor appoints a person to fill the seat.

On November 4, 2008, the people of Alabama will elect one associate justice to the Supreme Court, one judge to the Court of Civil Appeals, and two judges to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

For more information about the Appellate Courts and the Unified Judicial System of Alabama, see: