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The Alabama Circuit Courts are the state trial courts of general jurisdiction in the State of Alabama. The Circuit Courts have jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal cases. For civil cases, the courts has authority to try cases with an amount in controversy of more than $3,000 and has exclusive original jurisdiction over claims for more than $10,000.[1] The Circuit Courts are the criminal trial courts for most felony charges,[2] and for some misdemeanors and lesser included offenses.[1] The Circuit Courts also have appellate jurisdiction over certain cases arising from the Alabama District Courts (the trial courts of limited jurisdiction in Alabama).

The state has 148 Circuit Court judges divided among 41 judicial circuits[3] with the number of judges to each circuit set by acts of the Alabama Legislature. The legislature distribution is roughly based upon caseloads of the various circuits. The largest circuit in the state is the 10th Judicial Circuit which encompasses Jefferson County (approximately 20 % of the state's population) and is the seat of 27 of the judges. The smallest circuits are the 2nd, 3rd, 24th, 34th, 35th, 36th, 40th, and 41st which each contain just a single judge and represent many of the smallest population counties in the state.

Circuit Judges are elected to six-year terms in partisan elections with no limit on the number of terms excepting that no judge may seek re-election once he/she passes the age of seventy years. The partisan alignment of the Circuit Judges following the 2018 general election is 92 Republicans, 55 Democrats, and 1 Independent.[4] However, a large majority (35) of the Democrats 55 judgeships are in just two counties (Jefferson and Montgomery) while the Republican judgeships are spread among 45 different counties. In the event of a vacancy during a term of office, the Governor of Alabama usually has the authority to fill the unexpired terms. However, a limited number of the circuits (i.e., the 10th, 18th, 28th Circuits) have judicial commissions which submit nominees from which the Governor is obligated to choose. Upon retirement judges may choose to become active retired where they serve as special judges when called upon and are still held to the cannon of ethics. Judges may also serve as special judges outside of their respective circuit while holding office when called upon.

1st CircuitEdit

Counties Served: Choctaw, Clarke, Washington

Circuit Seats: Choctaw County Courthouse (Butler), Clarke County Courthouse (Grove Hill), Washington County Courthouse (Chatom)

Current Judges[5]
Title Name Seat Duty Station Term Seat Up
Presiding Circuit Judge Gaines C. McCorquodale 1 Grove Hill 2009–present 2022
Circuit Judge Charles R. Montgomery 2 Chatom 2010–present 2022

2nd CircuitEdit

Counties Served: Butler, Crenshaw, Lowndes

District Seats: Butler County Courthouse (Greenville), Crenshaw County Courthouse (Luverne), Lowndes County Courthouse (Hayneville)

Current Judge[6]
Title Name Duty Station Term Seat Up
Presiding Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell Greenville 2010–present 2018

3rd CircuitEdit

Counties Served: Barbour, Bullock

District Seats: Barbour County Courthouse (Clayton), Bullock County Courthouse (Union Springs)

Current Judge[7]
Title Name Duty Station Term Seat Up
Presiding Circuit Judge Leon Bernard Smithart Union Springs 1999–present 2022

4th CircuitEdit

Counties Served: Bibb, Dallas, Hale, Perry, Wilcox

District Seats: Bibb County Courthouse (Centreville), Dallas County Courthouse (Selma), Hale County Courthouse (Greensboro) Perry County Courthouse (Marion), Wilcox County Courthouse (Camden)

Current Judges[8]
Title Name Seat Duty Station Term Seat Up
Presiding Circuit Judge Marvin W. Wiggins 3 Greensboro 1999–present 2022
Circuit Judge Collins Pettaway, Jr. 1 Selma 2013–present 2018
Circuit Judge Donald McMillan 2

5th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Tallappoosa, Chambers, Macon, and Randolph counties.

6th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Tuscaloosa County

7th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Calhoun and Cleburne counties.

8th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Morgan County.

9th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Dekalb and Cherokee counties.

10th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Jefferson County.

11th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Lauderdale County.

12th CircuitEdit

Jursidiction- Pike and Coffee counties.

13th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Mobile County.

14th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Walker County.

15th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Montgomery County.

16th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Etowah County.

17th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Marengo, Sumter, and Greene counties. Judge Eddie Hardaway is the only Judge covering all three Counties

18th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Shelby County.

19th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Autauga, Chilton, and Elmore counties.

20th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Houston and Henry Counties.

21st CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Escambia County.

22nd CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Covington County.

23rd CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Madison County.

24th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Lamar, Fayette, and Pickens counties.

25th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Marion and Winston counties.

26th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Russell County.

27th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Marshall County.

28th CircuitEdit

Covering Baldwin County Alabama

Circuit Court Judges

Carmen Bosch, Jody W. Bishop, C. Joseph Norton, Scott P. Taylor, J. Clark Stankoski

29th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Talledega County.

30th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Saint Claire County.

31st CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Colbert County.

32nd CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Cullman County.

33rd CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Dale and Geneva Counties.

34th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Franklin County.

35th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Conecuh and Monroe counties.

36th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Lawrence County.

37th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Lee County.

38th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Jackson County.

39th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Limestone County.

40th CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Clay and Coosa counties.

41st CircuitEdit

Jurisdiction- Blount County.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Guide to Alabama Courts
  2. ^ District Courts may hear guilty pleas in felony cases not invoking capital punishment.
  3. ^ Alabama Unified Judicial System Structure Archived 2010-05-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Williams & Garrett, The Alabama Guide (2009)
  5. ^ "Search: Circuit 1". Alabama State Bar. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017
  6. ^ "Search: Circuit 2". Alabama State Bar. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.
  7. ^ "Search: Circuit 3". Alabama State Bar. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.
  8. ^ "Search: Circuit 4". Alabama State Bar. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.