Gov. Kay Ivey has appointed two women to fill open circuit court judgeships in Jefferson County.
Ivey appointed Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pulliam and District Court Judge Shanta Owens to the county’s criminal court bench. Pulliam, a Republican, already serves as a circuit judge in the county’s criminal court division, but lost re-election to a Democratic challenger in November.
The two women will fill open seats on the court that became vacant when Circuit Judge Bill Cole, a Republican, won election to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in November and Circuit Court Judge Laura Petro, a Democrat, announced her retirement.
Pulliam will fill the Place 3 seat held by Cole, and Owens, a Democrat, will fill the Place 2 seat held by Petro. Ivey’s appointment won’t shift the partisan makeup of Jefferson County’s Circuit Court.
Pulliam’s Democratic opponent, Linda Hall, who won her old seat, was disqualified based on residency requirements. That seat hasn’t been filled yet and candidates are being considered for that Place 16 seat, but Pulliam had already applied for the Place 3 seat.
Ivey will fill the Place 16 seat once Pulliam’s term officially ends in January, at which time she’ll become the Place 3 judge.
Owens, who was first elected to the bench in 2008, currently runs the county’s drug court as a district court judge. Her twin sister, Shera Grant, is also a district court judge in Jefferson County.
Pulliam will assume the Place 3 seat on Jan. 15, and Owens will assume the Place 2 judgeship on Jan. 31.
The Jefferson County Judicial Commission reviewed 13 applications for the two vacant spots on the circuit court before submitting recommendations to Ivey earlier in December, AL.com reported.