Judicial reform: Why the JIC and COJ must go in 2017

By Maggie Ford

On January 6, 2016, Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a factual and legal Administrative Order. Since then, we have seen the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) file charges against him because of it.

They also shared confidential information with The Montgomery Advertiser and The New York Times, and displayed a conflict of interest by using $75,000 of taxpayer money to hire the formal legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center – the organization that filed the original complaints – as their prosecuting attorney (despite the one they already had). Read More

Court of the Judiciary finds Montgomery judge guilty of violating judicial ethics

Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The Alabama Court of the Judiciary on Thursday found Montgomery Municipal Judge Les Hayes guilty on seven charges of violating the Canons of Judicial Ethics in connection to his use of a questionable private-probation company.

The Court, the Judicial Inquiry Commission and Mr. Hayes’ attorneys reached a plea agreement on Jan. 5.

With the agreement, Hayes was found guilty of counts one through seven of the complaint filed by JIC and will be suspended without pay for 11 months. The suspension will include time served since Mr. Hayes was suspended automatically in November when the Judicial Inquiry Commission first filed charges against him.

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The shape of things to come?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Several decisions over the next few weeks and months could significantly affect Alabama’s future for generations. Among these are, the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions’ replacement, the Special Supreme Court’s ruling in Chief Justice Roy Moore’s appeal and the findings of the Montgomery Grand Jury concerning Governor Robert Bentley.

Bentley is publicly holding casting-calls to find Sessions’ replacement upon his confirmation as US Attorney General. From a novice State representative to Chief Justice Moore himself, Bentley is parading potential candidates around like beauty pageant contestants. Each day the press publishes an ever-expanding list of hopeful nominees. It seems more like a charade than a selection process. Identifying the next junior Senator from Alabama is serious business, with little in common with the spectacle it now seems to have become. Perhaps, Bentley is using the Senate interviews to line up support for the billion dollar prison bill he plans to push in a special legislative session. Perhaps it is simply to hide his real intentions. With this Governor, the only thing you know for sure is that you don’t know.
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JIC’s bogus, twisted excuses for denying records in Moore case

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Special Alabama Supreme Court appointed to hear the appeal of Chief Justice Roy Moore suspension on December 7, sent an order to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) giving them fourteen days to show cause as to why the Motion to Intervene and Unseal filed by The Alabama Political Reporter should not be granted.

See reply

The JIC on Monday, December 19, answered the court, claiming it had a constitutional mandate to keep all records confidential. So insistent on this position under the State’s 1901 Constitution, they cited the provision no less than five times.
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Eight Alabama judges file amicus brief supporting Roy Moore

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, December 14, 2016, eight current and retired Alabama judges filed an amicus curiae in support of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) who is suing the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) over his recent suspension.

The judges state several points…

First they are subject to the same disciplinary standards and process used by the JIC and the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) in the Moore case and could conceivably be subject to investigation and disciplinary action in the future.
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Moore Defense asserts JIC exceeded authority

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, December 14, 2016, lawyers for suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) filed a 95-page brief with the specially selected panel of judges at the Alabama Supreme Court.

Moore is represented by Liberty Counsel. The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel Mat Staver said, “The brief dismantles the trumped up charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore. The JIC did not have the authority to review the Administrative Order. That authority belongs only to the Alabama Supreme Court and that court did not modify or overrule that order. Any objective review of this case must conclude that Chief Justice Moore did nothing wrong and should have never been charged. The JIC violated the rule of law and the COJ shamefully violated clear law when it de facto removed Chief Justice Moore when the order admits the court did not have the required unanimous vote to remove.”
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Writing about politics can be depressing

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

There was a time nearly two decades ago that I was having an especially personal exam at my doctor’s office. After he finished what he had to do, I asked him how he could do that every day.

He responded immediately: “How do you cover that Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky mess every day?”

Touché, my good doctor.

I’m asked often how I manage to write about politics on a regular basis. Gee, that’s been a full-time job since 1990, when I joined the editorial board of The Birmingham News, back when it was a daily newspaper and doing some of the best journalism in the country.
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Alabama Supreme Court demands JIC provide reason for keeping Moore case sealed

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, December 7, 2016, the Alabama Supreme Court has sent an order to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) giving them fourteen days to show cause as to why the Motion to Intervene and Unseal filed by The Alabama Political Reporter should not be granted.

The JIC sealed all the file on their case against Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore (R). Normally cases are sealed to protect the privacy of the accused; but Chief Justice Moore has consistently stated that he wanted the case unsealed and made public.
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The shadowy autocracy of the JIC, the State Supreme Court and the legal elites

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Two State Senators are offering constitutional amendments that would rein in the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and the Court of the Judiciary (COJ).

The JIC was created to investigate, receive, initiate complaints leveled against sitting judges, and the COJ was formed to hear cases that the JIC felt needed to be adjudicated. In simple terms, the JIC acts as a prosecutor and grand jury, while the COJ is judge and jury.
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Two Senate bills introduced to rein in JIC, COJ

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The prosecution and permanent suspension of Chief Justice Roy Moore has caused several lawmakers to question the legitimacy, even the need for the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and the Court of the Judiciary (COJ).

The COJ ruling in Judge Moore’s case is under appeal before a specially appointed Supreme Court. However, acting chief justice Lyn Stuart has barred Moore from his office, fired his staff and, reportedly, scheduled a new official Supreme Court photograph.
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