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Judicial Reallocation Bill Clears Committee in Senate

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY – A high profile bill in the 2014 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature was voted out of committee today. The legislation is being championed by Sen. Cam Ward and has been worked on over the last three years by members of the Alabama Bar Association and Circuit Judges throughout the state.

Judicial Reallocation will completely reform the manner in which court resources are allocated in the state. There has not been an attempt to realign Circuit judgeships since the 1970’s.  “It will most likely see vigorous debate, with so many people, jobs and judicial resources on the line but the bill aims to make historic shifts in circuits to meet the changing court docket loads in Alabama,” said Ward

Sen. Ward went to say, “real reform is never non-controversial and I look forward to debating this issue on the floor of the Senate.”

“We haven’t looked at the make up of our circuits, and the number of judges since Howell Heflin was Chief Justice,” Ward said. “There are parts of the state that are growing, and parts that are shrinking, and we need to make sure we have the right number of judges per circuit.”

The proposed legislation does not throw any off the Judicial Bench, rather it moves certain judgeships between circuits through attrition and retirement.

“We’re not looking to toss judges out, and we’re not looking to do this in one fell swoop,” Ward said. “If we can have comity and some trust amongst the parties involved, I am confident we can work this process so everyone involved is satisfied.”

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The bill is expected to come up for a full vote in the Senate soon.

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