AL Judge Cites Judicial Elections in Voiding Death Sentencing Scheme

Alabama’s capital murder sentencing scheme is unconstitutional, a Jefferson County judge said in a searing opinion on Thursday, citing in part “the obvious influence of partisan politics” on elected state judges. They are permitted under Alabama law to override jury recommendations of a life sentence and instead sentence defendants to death (see Gavel Grab). “The Alabama […]

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Alabama’s Former Chief Justice: Money is “King” in Judicial Races

Former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, who wrote a memorable – and scorching – Politico piece earlier this year about the perils of judicial fundraising (see Gavel Grab), is continuing her public plea for judicial selection reform. In an Associated Press piece published in the Montgomery Advertiser, Cobb says that “money has now become the king” in judicial elections.   She […]

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Friday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts: Former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb’s reflections on campaigning for judicial office (see Gavel Grab) were mentioned in Mother Jones and the Anniston Star. Legal News Line reported, “Judicial Elections in West Virginia will now be nonpartisan.”

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National Coverage of Judicial Election Flaws Is Growing

Last week, Politico published an op-ed by former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb that illuminated the problems that plague judicial elections. In the days since, additional editorials have echoed Cobb’s calls to depoliticize state courts. The Anniston Star concluded an editorial on the piece by calling on Alabama legislators to make the process “more […]

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