How have your
training, professional experience, and interests prepared you to serve
on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals?
My ten years of
combined experience as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and
criminal appellate attorney have prepared me well to serve as a Judge
on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. As a former prosecutor,
I understand the concerns of victims for just punishment and the
importance of reaching finality expeditiously in the appellate
process. As a criminal defense attorney, I understand the need
for due process and equal treatment under the law. As a criminal
appellate attorney, I understand the appeal process, the variety of
issues presented for consideration, and the need to evaluate each case
with judicial thoroughness, discernment, and fairness. I
understand the importance of the application of the rule of law that
makes our State a place where laws are supremely important, and it is
the even handed application of the law that is essential to an orderly
society where laws, and not men, rule. I am fair, open-minded, and
committed to upholding the law. I have the formal training and
experience to apply the law to the cases that will come before me if I
am elected. I possess the necessary experience, maturity, and
perspective to sit as a Judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals. If
elected, I will bring to bear all my experience, skill, and judgment to
make a difference on the Court of Criminal Appeals.
What do you consider to be the three most important
attributes of a judge?
three most important attributes of a judge are dedication to excellence
and public service, a good working knowledge of the law at hand, and
impartiality. A judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals should be
well versed and dedicated to the study and application of correct
criminal law principles that are needed for the just decision of each
case. Dedication to excellence and public service demands that a
judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals focus on discharging their
duties to the best of their abilities, deciding cases promptly, while
not compromising the importance of thoroughness and impartiality.
What is your judicial philosophy?
believe rulings should be based on the facts of each case and the
law. I will be fair to all parties, open-minded to the arguments
of each side, and dedicated to the impartial application of the
law. I have been fortunate to have the unique opportunity to view
cases from both sides and have the tested ability to view a case
through the eyes of a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. I will
use my considerable trial and appellate experience to be an immediate
contributor on the Court in promoting the delivery of impartial justice
in an expeditious manner. I also believe that in order to achieve these
goals that make up my judicial philosophy, hard work will be required
and I will work diligently to meet these standards that I strive to
live by daily.
How do you define “judicial independence,” and how
important is it to our judicial system?
independence is the ability to render fair decisions based on law,
without relying on pressure from other sources or personal bias.
It is crucial to our judicial system if we are to promote and achieve
justice for all.
What is the greatest area of need in the Alabama criminal justice
how should the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals respond, if at all?
want and need to have their confidence restored in the criminal justice
system. There are many different, competing interests and needs
in the criminal justice system. All parties immediately affected, the
convicted criminal, his or her family, and the victim, and his or her
family, want and rightly deserve an efficient and just appellate court
system. These parties and the tax-paying public should demand that
their appellate courts render decisions in an efficient manner.
Although the Court of Criminal Appeals is relatively efficient, it
takes six months to a year for a ruling to be made in an average
non-capital case; the Court could do better in the number of cases
decided annually by working smarter such as in inviting more oral
argument, and through diligent work ethics.
What part, if any, should public opinion play in the decision of a
opinion should not play a role in the decision if a judge. Judges
should represent the best qualities of those people that they serve,
however, judicial rulings should be based solely on the facts presented
in the case and existing law as it relates to the subject matter at
issue in the case.
In a case before the court, how should a judge handle a conflict
between his/her personal beliefs and the law?
A judge has to set
personal feelings totally aside. In order to give a just and
impartial decision, a Judge must rely on the law, not personal
conscience. A judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals is bound to
uphold the law and the Constitution of this State and the United
States. Judicial decisions should be based on the law, the facts,
and the issues preserved for review.