Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Alabama

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William Veitch was a Republican candidate for district attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama. His request for a declaration was denied, and he petitioned for a writ of mandamus when the trial court refused to direct that the names of candidates running for the office of district attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit be included not only on the ballot to be used in the primary election in the Birmingham Division of Jefferson County, but also on the ballot to be used in the primary election in the portion of Jefferson County known as the Bessemer Cutoff. The trial court dismissed Veitch's action based on its conclusion that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction and, alternatively, based on the doctrine of laches. Veitch appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court found a jurisdiction-stripping statute did not deprive the trial court of jurisdiction and Veitch was not precluded by the doctrine of laches from bringing his action. At this point, the Court expressed no opinion on the merits of Veitch's arguments regarding the alleged repeal of the 1953 Act, its alleged unconstitutionality, or its alleged unconstitutional application. The trial court's judgment was therefore reversed and this case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Veitch v. Vowell" on Justia Law

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Defendants the Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, and a member of his staff, Ed Packard, the director of elections, petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the Montgomery Circuit Court to vacate a preliminary injunction and to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction the underlying action seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. On December 7, 2017, plaintiffs Pamela Miles, Dan Dannemueller, Paul Hard, and Victoria Tuggle (hereinafter referred to collectively as "the plaintiffs") filed a civil action against Merrill and Packard, in their official capacities, alleging certain electronic voting machines used in Alabama elections created digital images of the paper ballots scanned and counted by the machines, and that defendants "do not and will not instruct election officials" to preserve the digital ballot images. Those images, it was argued, were public records that, under Alabama law, had to be preserved. Plaintiffs also appeared to allege that federal law, specifically, 52 U.S.C. 20701, required those images be retained. This failure "to require that all election materials" be preserved, the plaintiffs contended, "infringe[d] upon their right to a fair and accurate election." The Alabama Supreme Court determined plaintiffs' allegations did not demonstrate how the "challenged practices harm[ed]" plaintiffs in a concrete way; how they would personally suffer the threatened injury, which is itself described only as a mere speculative possibility; or how they would benefit in a "tangible way" by a judgment in their favor. Instead, the Court found they alleged only that they "could" be harmed." Therefore, because the complaint insufficiently alleged that plaintiffs have standing, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the action. The Court therefore directed that the case be dismissed. View "Ex parte Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Director of Elections Ed Packard." on Justia Law

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The Town of Hayneville ("the Town") and Carol Scrushy petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the Lowndes Circuit Court to vacate its July 7, 2017, order denying the Town and Scrushy's motion to dismiss what they characterized as an election contest filed by Darshini Bandy, Connie Johnson, and Justin Pouncey (referred to collectively as "the electors") and to enter an order dismissing the electors' action. After review, the Supreme Court found the circuit court had the power to enforce its prior orders and to void the May 23, 2017, special election, which, the court found, had not been ordered in strict compliance with the State's election laws. The July 7, 2017, judgment of the circuit court enforcing its prior orders concerning the August 2016 election and the special election to fill the vacant council seat in District A was a valid judgment. Accordingly, Scrushy and the Town were not entitled to the relief they sought. View "Ex parte Carol Scrushy & the Town of Hayneville." on Justia Law

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The Town of Hayneville ("the Town") and Carol Scrushy petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the Lowndes Circuit Court to vacate its July 7, 2017, order denying the Town and Scrushy's motion to dismiss what they characterized as an election contest filed by Darshini Bandy, Connie Johnson, and Justin Pouncey (referred to collectively as "the electors") and to enter an order dismissing the electors' action. After review, the Supreme Court found the circuit court had the power to enforce its prior orders and to void the May 23, 2017, special election, which, the court found, had not been ordered in strict compliance with the State's election laws. The July 7, 2017, judgment of the circuit court enforcing its prior orders concerning the August 2016 election and the special election to fill the vacant council seat in District A was a valid judgment. Accordingly, Scrushy and the Town were not entitled to the relief they sought. View "Ex parte Carol Scrushy & the Town of Hayneville." on Justia Law