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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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Aimee Cobb Smith
Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place No. 2
General Election
November 4, 2008

Biographical Information
Place of Residence: Montgomery, Alabama
Family: I have been happily married to James Andrew “Andy” Smith, from Headland, Alabama, for the past thirteen (13) years.  We have a 5-year old son, Ian, and a 4-year old daughter, Riley.  My parents are Jerry and Retha Cobb of Dothan, Alabama. I have an older brother, Shane Cobb, an older sister, Renee Cobb Roebling, and a twin sister Ashley Cobb Shelley. I also have a large church family at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery.
Education: I earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in 1994, majoring in zoology. I then pursued and earned a Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law in 1998.
Occupation: Attorney at Law
Employer: Law Offices of Aimee C. Smith, PLLC
Bar Admission(s) &
Date(s) of Admission:
Alabama State Bar in May 1998; Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama in May 1998.
Legal & Judicial
I began my formal legal career as a Deputy District Attorney with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. I then worked as a staff attorney for an environmental firm, WildLaw. While in private practice, I have focused on criminal defense, and criminal appeals. It has also been my privilege to serve in numerous cases as a Guardian Ad Litem determining and advocating for the best interest of children. I have been appointed as temporary Probate Judge for Montgomery County.
Other Experience: While attending law school, I maintained a full-time job with the Hon. Thomas T. Gallion III at Haskell, Slaughter, & Gallion in Montgomery, Alabama; I also worked with the Hon. Mac McArthur at the Institute for Ethics in Business & Government as a legislative assistant and researcher in the areas of election, judicial, campaign finance and ethics reform.
Honors & Awards: Many of my criminal appeal cases have been published in the Alabama Law Weekly. My innovative work as Guardian Ad Litem has been used to educate other lawyers in continuing legal education courses. I appeared with Ed Gordon on B.E.T. News in New York. I served on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery AIDS Outreach. I am a Lifetime member of the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
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Campaign Contact Information
Address 1: 22 Scott Street
Address 2:
City: Montgomery
State: Alabama
Zip Code: 36104
Voice Phone Number: (334)264-6466
Fax Phone Number: (334)265-1926
Website: www.aimeecobbsmith.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?

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.

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

The 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.

3.  What is your judicial philosophy?

I 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.

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

Judicial 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.

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?

People 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.

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

Public 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.

7.  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.

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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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