Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3

DOCUMENT 24

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HOUSTON


STATE OF ALABAMA
V.
NEWSOME AMOS JR
Defendant.

ELECTRONICALLY FILED
10/3/2016 11:10 AM
38-CC-2016-001133.00
CIRCUIT COURT OF
HOUSTON COUNTY, ALABAMA
CARLA
H. WOODALL, CLERK
COUNTY,
ALABAMA

)
)
) Case No.:
)
)
)

CC-2016-001133.00

ORDER

This case concerns the appointment of an Acting Municipal Judge or


Special Judge for the purposes of hearing cases in Municipal Court.
Alabama Code Section 12-14-34 and Section 30-35 of the Code of
Ordinances for the City of Dothan require that acting municipal judges (what
the City of Dothan terms a Special Municipal Judge) be appointed by the
mayor of the municipality. The sitting Municipal Judge, Rose Gordon, directed
her request for such appointment in the Citys prosecution of the Defendant to
the Mayor. In this case the City Manager of the City of Dothan, Alabama
executed the document appointing the Special Municipal Judge. Alabama
Code Section 12-13-34 does not specifically authorize the City Manager to
appoint a Special Municipal Judge.
There are numerous decisions of The United States Supreme Court and
The Alabama Supreme Court which recognize the De Facto Officer Doctrine.

DOCUMENT 24

This doctrine would confer validity upon the acts of a Special Judge preceding
under the color of official title, even if the propriety and legality of that
appointment is deficient. Under this doctrine a de facto Judge occupies a
judicial office with credentials established under color of authority pursuant to
an appointment. During the time the Special Judge performs judicial duties he
is presumed to have public approval, even though his actual authority is
statutorily deficient. Here the special municipal Judge was a Judge de facto.
The Court is of the opinion that the "De Facto Doctrine" is applicable to
this case.
Courts do not have unfettered power to correct errors that were forfeited
because they were not timely raised. In some cases this precept is applicable
even when an error has occurred that is plain and affects substantial rights of
the Parties. The Courts discretion may be exercised only when it determines
that the error seriously or dramatically affected the fairness, integrity or public
reputation of judicial proceedings.
There will be no miscarriage of justice in this case because the
appointment by the City Manager in lieu of the Mayor was without statutory
authority. There is no claim that the appointed special Judge was biased or
incompetent. There is no record to show that the Defendant was denied due
process or any constitutional rights. Rights may be forfeited in criminal as well
as civil cases by the failure to make timely assertion of the right. The Petitioner

DOCUMENT 24

has not shown that the claimed error seriously affected the fairness, integrity or
public reputation of the judicial proceeding at issue. Court retains jurisdiction.
Clerk to set case for final hearing.

DONE this 3rd day of October, 2016.


/s/ J. MICHAEL CONAWAY
CIRCUIT JUDGE