Circuit judges preside over criminal, civil and domestic cases and are top administrators of the judicial system.
Although they are elected in county elections, they are state officials.
The term is six years.
The beginning salary is about $119,000.
Q: Why are you running for circuit judge, and what is your platform?
A: I believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law regardless of background, race or sex. The court system and the state is broke. I believe I have some innovative ideas to address this situation. For instance, many people charged with crimes cannot pay their court costs. Why should someone go to jail because they are poor? Or, why should the county just eat the costs when the person cannot pay? Instead, the person could give back to the county by performing services such as picking up trash in parks, roadways, etc. This saves the taxpayer money and gets things done the county cannot pay for.
Q: Are you expecting to win because you are running as a Republican, because of recent past elections where GOP contenders were chosen based on political party?
A: I do not expect to win because of party. I am running against an 18-year incumbent that is well known. This is an uphill race for me.
Q: Judges make decisions that could change people’s lives forever, whether financially in litigation or ordering them to prison for life or, more drastically, placing them on death row. Do you believe you have the experience and knowledge to make rulings in civil and criminal cases?
A: Yes, I do believe I have this experience. When a client comes to see me, they are facing their first judge. They might have a complaint, but I decide whether they have a case. This affects whether a case is even brought in civil court, or how a case is settled or tried in criminal court.
Q: How many civil and criminal cases have your tried?
A: This is a hard question to answer because I was hired as the firm litigator. Most of the cases I have tried or settled have been filed originally in Brent’s (King) name, or have been in federal court. I have tried thousands in federal courts and have had years where I have been to federal court for anywhere from one to five cases every week. I have also tried criminal cases in the cities of Town Creek, Priceville, Hartselle and Decatur.
Q: Currently, three people are charged with capital murder in the deaths of two Krystal Restaurant employees. If you should win, do you think you are capable of presiding over these capital murder trials?
A: Yes, I believe I am. In law school, I clerked for the presiding criminal judge in Jefferson County and helped him with several capital murder trials. My Christianity allows me to make a moral judgment and weigh the evidence. A person without a conscience and beliefs should not sit on a capital case. There needs to be extreme consideration before the death penalty is given. All considerations should be weighed because the final decision rests with the judge. I believe it is sometimes warranted but should be given in only the most extreme cases.
Q: What do you think of the job your opponent has done during his nearly 18 years on the bench?
A: I believe that I have some innovative ideas that my opponent has not taken advantage of. ... Another idea I have is for non-payers of child support. Why fill the jail up with these people? Why not put them in some type of work release to pay back the child support they owe? This is better for the other parent and better for the taxpayer who does not have to pay to house them. Also, it frees up space in the jail to put violent offenders, child predators where they belong.
Q: As a judge would you favor prosecutors over defense attorneys, or would you be unbiased, even if one or the other is your friend?
A: No. I do not believe prosecutors, even friends, should be favored any more than I believe criminal defense attorneys should be favored. Each case is unique and must be looked at on its own facts.
Legal experience: Attorney for 13 years. Currently with Brent King Law Firm
Family: Wife, Sheree
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