How have your
training, professional experience, and interests prepared you to serve
on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals?
have been on the
court for 11 ½ and have authored and participated in thousands of
appeals. I currently serve as the presiding judge and have
the court through one of the most productive periods in its
history. I enjoy reading and researching the law, which is a
large part of what the job entails. The reversal
the opinions I have authored is extremely low, and I believe that I
have earned a reputation during my tenure for being a fair, honest, and
What do you consider to be the three most important
attributes of a judge?
Above all a judge must be fair,
impartial, and knowledgeable in the law.
What is your judicial philosophy?
judges are there to decide the matters before them. It is not
role of the judiciary to establish public policy by exercising
legislative authority. Judges must be constrained in their
approach to the law.
How do you define “judicial independence,” and how
important is it to our judicial system?
independence is when a judge decides a case by applying the law to the
facts without being subject to outside influences. Judicial
independence is vitally important to our judiciary from the standpoint
of maintaining the public’s trust.
What is the greatest area of need in the Alabama civil justice
how should the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals respond, if at all?
believe that access to the courts should be a priority.
primarily a legislative function, assistance to poor litigants in
matters involving constitutionally protected rights should be
improved. We have made great strides recently in this area in
Alabama, but there is still room for improvement. Our court
recently increased the fees that can be received by lawyers appointed
to represent indigent clients.
What part, if any, should public opinion play in the decision of a
opinion has a tendency to change over time. A judge has a
avoid being influenced by it. A judge should rule according
the law as applied to the facts.
In a case before the court, how should a judge handle a conflict
between his/her personal beliefs and the law?
judge cannot let his personal opinions and beliefs override the