Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb is supporting a bill that would set experience requirements for the state’s judges. The very popular Chief Justice is lending her support to the bill, introduced by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, which would set minimum experience requirements for people to become judges after Jan. 1, 2009. The bill requires three years experience as a licensed lawyer before becoming a district judge, five years before becoming a circuit judge, and ten years before becoming an appellate court judge. The bill passed in the House without a dissenting vote and is now in the Senate.
Alabama is one of 16 states that have no experience requirements for any level of judgeship. Some of those states even set minimum age requirements, but Alabama doesn’t do that either. Rep. DeMarco’s bill has been endorsed by the Alabama Bar Association and has universal support from lawyers and non-lawyers alike. If there is any real opposition in the Senate, it’s been very quiet. This bill should be passed by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Riley as soon as possible. Hopefully, that will have happened by the time this issue is mailed.
Source: Associated Press
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