Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated no Democrats had qualified for the race for Mobile County District Judge. In fact, Alan Colvin did qualify, and as the only candidate in the Democratic race his name did not appear on the March 3 primary ballot.
Colvin will face Republican candidate Zack Moore during the general election in November.
A due of local attorneys with previous judicial experience are vying to fill an open district judge’s seat in Mobile County but they’ll have to secure the GOP nomination on March 3 first.
Edward C. Blount Jr. and Zack Moore have both served as specially appointed district judges before, and in addition to their private practices, Moore has worked as an appointed Mobile Municipal Court judge and Blount has served as the magistrate judge overseeing the local drug and veterans court programs.
From 2007 to 2011, Moore worked as an assistant district attorney (DA) in Mobile County under John Tyson and current DA Ashley Rich. He then started his own firm, which specializes in criminal defense and represents clients in civil matters as well. With experience handling cases on both sides of the court and on the bench, Moore believes he could easily take on a new role as district judge.
“We live in Mobile, and there’s a lot of crime that needs to be addressed, unfortunately,” Moore said. “Having sat on the bench consistently for the last six years, and as a former prosecutor and defense attorney, I think I’m in a position to come in and do the job from day one.”
Speaking with Lagniappe, Moore said as a judge he would prioritize making sure anyone who comes into his courtroom gets a fair and impartial hearing regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. He said judges should only be concerned with “the evidence” and “the laws on the page.”
“Every case is unique and should be treated as such, and district court is the point of the spear when it comes to criminal cases. You’re the first judge they’re going to see,” he said. “I would hope everybody who runs for judge is of a like mind. If we don’t have a level playing field, we’re doing it wrong.”
Blount has focused much of his campaign on the drug and veterans court programs he’s helped oversee and grow since 2001. Those programs have helped hundreds of nonviolent defendants avoid jail while directing them to rehabilitative services and keeping the state from paying for their prosecutions.
“This is a win-win for all involved. The offenders get the needed drug treatment along with very close supervision and the district attorney gets a guilty plea without any further litigation,” Blount said of the program. “Defendants are put to work, ordered to find and/or apply for jobs to pay their way.”
According to Blount, he accepted 1,777 guilty pleas in Mobile County drug court between 2001 and 2018 and the rate of defendants successfully completing the drug court program has continued to trend upward. In 2015, Blount worked with retired Circuit Judge Charlie Graddick to establish a similar diversion program for U.S. veterans facing criminal charges associated with “service-related impairments.”
“Veterans court is a much-needed program due to the number of service members separating out of the military due to the stand-down of military action abroad,” Blount said. “Many of our veterans suffer from combat-related [post-traumatic stress disorder], [traumatic brain injuries], closed head injuries, sexual trauma and drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Our court helps divert qualified defendants to the resources provided by the Veterans [Benefits] Administration and, for some, allows them to not end up with a felony or misdemeanor conviction.”
The winner of the primary race will face Democratic candidate Alan Colvin in the Nov. 3 general election. Colvin was the only qualifying Democratic candidate, so his name will not appear on the March 3 ballot.
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