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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

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Chris Mixon
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2
AL Republican Primary Election
June 3, 2008
Biographical Information
Place of Residence: Birmingham, Alabama
Family: I am blessed beyond measure by a loving and supportive family.  I am married to Dr. Amanda Mixon, who is an internal medicine physician currently serving jointly at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Birmingham VA Medical Center.  We have the great joy of expecting our first child this fall.
My extended family includes my mother and step-father, Ruth and Chuck Ash, my father, James Mixon, and my grandmother, Marian Cranford, all of Birmingham.  My older sister and her husband, Kim and Michael Spinello, live in Atlanta.  My younger sister and her husband, Amy and Bruce Cooper, live in Birmingham with their daughter, Emma Ruth. 
Education: I attended E.R. Dickson Elementary School and St. Paul's School in Mobile.  I attended high school in Birmingham, where I graduated from Homewood High School in 1989. I am a 1993 gradute of Auburn University, with a B.A. degree in history and psychology.  While I was at Auburn, I served on the University's Academic Honesty and Grievance Committees, and I also served as the sole undergraduate member of the steering committee overseeing the University's application for re-accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  I was also a member of the Auburn University Marching Band.  

After graduating from Auburn and working for a year in Birmingham, I enrolled in law school at Emory University.  I graduated from Emory Law School in 1997.  While at Emory, I served as President of the Graduate Student Senate and Vice President for Graduate Affairs of the Student Government Association.
Occupation: Attorney
Employer: I am currently a partner in the Birmingham office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, and Stewart, which is a national law firm working with employers who provide jobs throughout Alabama.
Bar Admission(s) &
Date(s) of Admission:
I was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1997, and I was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1998.  I am also admitted to practice before all of the state courts of Alabama; the Supreme Court of the United States; the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama; the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia; the Supreme Court of Georgia; and the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Legal & Judicial
While I was still in law school, I served in externships at the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Newton County Juvenile Court.  In my final year of law school, I served in an externship in the criminal prosecution division of the United States Attorney’s Office, working with prosecutors who handled both violent crimes and white collar crimes.  After graduating from law school, I worked as a Law Clerk for Justice Hugh Maddox, of the Alabama Supreme Court.  At the conclusion of my one-year clerkship, Justice Maddox asked me to remain on his staff as a Staff Attorney.  When Justice Maddox's term on the Supreme Court came to an end, Justice Harold See invited me to join his staff as his Senior Staff Attorney.  Since March 2003, I have practiced law in the Birmingham office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.  Ours is one of the three largest labor and employment law firms in the country, and I became a partner in the firm in January 2007.
Other Experience: After I graduated from Auburn and before I enrolled at Emory Law School, I worked for Employers Drug Program Management, Inc.  EDPM works with employers throughout the country to implement and manage drug and alcohol testing services for those employers.  I worked with client companies to establish their respective drug and alcohol testing policies and to facilitate all elements of implementing their testing programs.

In late October 2001, Justice Harold See asked me to take on the responsibility of managing his campaign for re-election to the Alabama Supreme Court.  After the successful conclusion of that election, I joined my present law firm.

Honors & Awards: While I was in school at Auburn, I was a National Merit Scholar and a Presidential Scholar.  I was also a member of the Mortar Board and Spades honoraries. 

Upon graduation from Emory University School of Law, I was awarded the Dean's Award for Public Service.

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Campaign Contact Information
Address 1: P.O. Box 1954
Address 2:
City: Birmingham
State: Alabama
Zip Code: 35201
Voice Phone Number: 205-714-4408
Fax Phone Number: -- No Reply --
Website: www.chrismixon.com
Email Address:
(or Contact Webform Address)
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Questions & Answers:
1.  How have your training, professional experience, and interests prepared you to serve on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals?

I am prepared to serve on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals because I have extensive personal experience working at the Alabama Supreme Court, and in other courts, considering the arguments of the parties, researching the law, and drafting proposed decisions.  While I was still in law school at Emory University, I served in externships at the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Newton County Juvenile Court, and in the criminal prosecution division of the United States Attorney’s Office.  When I graduated from Emory more than a decade ago, I came home to Alabama to work at the Alabama Supreme Court.  During my years at the Supreme Court, I worked first as a Law Clerk and Staff Attorney to Justice Hugh Maddox, and then as Senior Staff Attorney to Justice Harold See.  In each of those positions, I worked on all types of criminal cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court.  I understand the role of an appellate court judge, and I will not require any on-the-job training.  In addition to my years of service at the Supreme Court, I have also practiced law in the Birmingham office of a national law firm, litigating cases on behalf of both individuals and employers before state and federal trial courts, the Alabama Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  I have a strongly held, conservative judicial philosophy.  I believe in working hard, and I have tested, proven experience.

2.  What do you consider to be the three most important attributes of a judge?

I believe it is essential that a judge be experienced, objective, and strong.  It is particularly important for a judge on an appellate court to have the requisite experience to understand the proper role of an appellate court judge.  Appeals courts are places of research, study, and thoughtful debate, where a judge must follow the law and not attempt to re-write the law from the bench.  A judge on an appellate court must have the skills and ability to objectively evaluate arguments presented by the parties on novel issues of law, determine what the law requires, and articulate an explanation of the law’s requirements that can be applied in trial courts throughout the state.   A judge must also have the strength of character and conscience to apply the law faithfully and impartially, without regard to outside pressure or interests.

3.  What is your judicial philosophy?

I have a conservative judicial philosophy, which was informed and strengthened by my years of experience working at the Alabama Supreme Court.  I believe the role of a judge is to faithfully and impartially apply the law to the facts of the case, without legislating from the bench or attempting to re-write the law.  I believe Alabama’s appellate court judges should be experienced doing the work of an appeals court and must respect the rights of victims in our criminal justice system while ensuring due process of law to all parties who come before the Court.  Ultimately, they must ensure that the rule of law prevails.  The Alabama Constitution requires that our state government be “a government of laws and not of men,” and it is the duty of a judge to abide by that Constitutional requirement.

4.  How do you define “judicial independence,” and how important is it to our judicial system?

Judicial independence is an essential element of the separation-of-powers doctrine upon which the framers of our Constitution relied to ensure the continued liberty and prosperity of the people.  Section 43 of our state Constitution prohibits the executive and legislative branches from attempting to usurp the judicial power, which is reserved exclusively to the judicial branch.  The same section of the Constitution also prohibits the judiciary from attempting to usurp the powers and prerogatives of the executive and legislative branches.  An impartial and independent judiciary is, therefore, an integral part of the system of checks and balances that prevents any branch of government from accumulating unfettered power.  The preservation of judicial independence helps to ensure that the reins of power remain firmly in the hands of the people.

5.  What is the greatest area of need in the Alabama criminal justice system, and how should the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals respond, if at all?

The principal issue that is always before all of our courts is to ensure that the rule of law prevails.  The Court of Criminal Appeals must uphold the rule of law and provide guidance on the law’s requirements to the trial courts throughout the state.  To that end, I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of a judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama.

6.  What part, if any, should public opinion play in the decision of a judge?

Upon taking office, judges swear an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Alabama and the Constitution of the United States.  That oath requires judges to follow the law faithfully and impartially.  Judges are obliged to apply the law as they understand it to the facts of the case without regard to outside influences.  If a citizen believes that a particular law is unwise, our Constitution guarantees him or her the right to petition the Legislature to have that law changed.

7.  In a case before the court, how should a judge handle a conflict between his/her personal beliefs and the law?

The oath of office that judges take requires them to follow the law faithfully and impartially.  If a judge’s conscience will not allow him or her to follow the law in a particular case, he or she should recuse himself or herself from involvement in that case.

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The League of Women Voters of Alabama Education Fund does not endorse any political candidate or party. The information presented here is intended solely for the education of Alabama voters. Responses are printed verbatim as submitted by the candidates up to the 250-word limit.

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