A closed selection process was finalized on Wednesday after Governor Robert Bentley appointed local attorney Walter Honeycutt to fill a seat as a Mobile County Circuit Court judge.
Honeycutt, who says he was “born and raised” in the Port City, graduated from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School before obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of South Alabama.
Honeycutt went westward for his legal education. He earned his law degree from Mississippi College in 1993 before moving back to Mobile two years later. He has a wife, Shannon and one son, Sam.
“This is home,” he said. “So, I came back home.”
Judge Donald Banks announced his retirement from the domestic relations docket late last year, and Honeycutt told Lagniappe he was approached by a number of attorneys and encouraged to apply.
“All lawyers want to see their name on the door and want to be a judge,” he said. “When they’re younger, they want to see their name on the door and when they’re older they want to be a judge.”
According to Honeycutt, a judge presiding over domestic relations needs a lot of patience.
“(A judge) tries to get people to realize that their marriage is over, but they’ll still need to deal with that person if they have kids,” he said. “Ultimately, they try to convince the parents to act like adults.”
Honeycutt has experience in criminal defense and divorce and family law. He’ll officially take Banks’ seat on Feb. 8, according to Bentley’s press office. Banks has previously said he would serve until his replacement takes the bench.
Honeycutt was one of three names, including Grady Edmondson and Andrew Jones, sent to Bentley on Dec. 18 from the Mobile County Judicial Nominating Commission. That list was originally whittled down from six potential candidates.