By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she has appointed Republican Mike Anderton as Jefferson County District Attorney.
“I am proud to appoint Mike Anderton as Jefferson County District Attorney,” Ivey said. “Out of all the applicants, Mike had the most experience, and I know he will work effectively, and with integrity, for the people of Birmingham and all of Jefferson County. Having dedicated his legal career to bringing justice to innocent victims and their families, and working 33 years in the Jefferson County DA’s Office, I am confident in Mike’s abilities to effectively serve as District Attorney.”
Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Sallie Bryant said in a statement on the appointment, “We are pleased that Governor Ivey has selected such a highly qualified individual to serve the people of Jefferson County as our District Attorney.”
“Mike Anderton has an over 30 year track record as a prosecutor in the county, with approximately 350 felony and misdemeanor jury trials to his credit,” Bryant said. “He worked on the original Vertical Prosecution Unit, which was started to meet the unique needs of victims and their families, specifically as it relates to homicides and child sexual and physical abuse. Mr. Anderton also plays a crucial operational role in the DA’s office, serving as a Division Chief, where his day-to-day duties include supervising other Deputy District Attorneys, investigations, trial preparations, negotiations, and settlements.”
“It is clear that Mr. Anderton possesses all the attributes needed to successfully lead the District Attorney’s Office as it moves forward,” Bryant added. “He has spent his entire legal career prosecuting those who are guilty of crimes and protecting their victims. I am confident he will proudly serve the people of Jefferson County.”
“I would like to thank Governor Ivey and her team for conducting such a thorough and extensive search process, to make sure the needs of our diverse community are being met,” Bryant concluded.
The district attorney’s position became vacant when a jury convicted suspended Jefferson County District Attorney Charles Todd Henderson of providing a false statement to a judge. Henderson was the first Democratic DA in decades in Jefferson County, defeating incumbent DA Brandon Falls in the 2016 general election. Four days before being sworn in during January 2017, the attorney general’s Special Crimes Unit indicted Henderson for perjury.
Henderson had been the appointed the guardian ad litum for a minor involved in a child custody case. Henderson used that position of power to lure the child’s mother, Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl, into a sexual relationship. When the child’s father challenged Henderson impartiality in the court case, Henderson denied the allegation before Judge Patricia Stephens. In September 2016, Judge Stephens changed primary custody of the minor child from the mother to the father and banned the child from being in the presence of Henderson. She also ordered that parties who have a romantic relationship not be allowed to spend the night or have access to the child. Judge Stephens demanded that Akl, a foreign national, surrender her passport to the court and forwarded transcripts of the case to the AG’s office. Henderson was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Matt Hart and ultimately found guilty by a jury, creating a vacancy in the position and meaning that Gov. Ivey was tasked with appointing someone to fill the vacancy.
Assistant District Attorney Danny Carr had been appointed by Judge Boohaker to fill the role on an interim basis, since Henderson has been suspended following his being charged by state prosecutors. Some Democrats had pressured Ivey to appoint Carr to the position, while some Republicans had asked Ivey to appoint former DA Brandon Falls back to the position.
It is the Alabama Political Reporter’s current understanding that the district attorney’s position would be back on the ballot here in the 2018 election as over three years of Henderson’s term remains.