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ADOC moving all litigation to AG’s office

The transition comes after AG Steve Marshall stripped ADOC attorneys of litigation authority.

ADOC Commissioner John Hamm speaks with Rep. Chris England following a meeting of the Joint Legislative Prison Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. Jacob Holmes/APR
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The Alabama Department of Corrections said Wednesday that is beginning the process of transitioning all litigation matters from its office to the Alabama Attorney General following the decision by AG Steve Marshall to strip all ADOC attorneys of assistant AG status. 

The removal of those designations – which ultimately authorize the attorneys in the ADOC to handle litigation – was first reported by APR on Tuesday, in a story that included the AG’s Office confirming the move. 

Despite multiple attempts to contact officials at ADOC, the department didn’t respond until late Wednesday, when it emailed a statement from Hamm and confirmed that the department’s six full-time attorneys were being stripped of their assistant AG status. In that statement, Hamm said the impact isn’t yet clear.

“We will not speculate about the impact the AG’s decision will have on the ADOC, but I am confident in the ability of our Legal Division to protect the interests of this department throughout this transition,” the statement read. “We will continue to focus on the critical mission of the ADOC – to provide public safety through the secure confinement, rehabilitation, and reentry of offenders.”

Marshall’s office has continued to decline to comment on the reasons behind the decision, and several sources with knowledge of the situation told APR that ADOC officials were caught by surprise by the decision and have not been given a full answer for why it was made. 

One thing is certain, however: the move could potentially cost the state thousands of dollars. In addition to continuing to pay the salaries of six ADOC attorneys, the state must now contract with outside attorneys to handle the multiple lawsuits and legal matters facing ADOC. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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