Three seats on the five-seat court of Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals are up for election this year.
Today’s candidate spotlight features St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor. Minor has served as the top prosecutor in St. Clair County since he was first elected in 2004. He’s running for Place 1 on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
With a little over four months until voters head to the ballots, AlabamaToday.com is inviting all candidates running for office in Alabama this year, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email Elizabeth@ALToday.com.
Here Minor is in his own words:
- Significant other? How long married? Kids? I am married to Angela Callahan Minor of Pell City. We married in 2006. I have two daughters, Olivia (19) and Adyson (10), and one stepson Bailey (17). My wife and I also have have custody of our nephew Brad (18).
- Education background? Professional background? I am a 1993 graduate of the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University. While at Cumberland School of Law, I was a member of the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, a Cordell Hull Teaching Fellow and served as a Samford Senator. I graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University in 1990 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice.In 2004, I was elected District Attorney for St. Clair County. Prior to my election, I served as the Chief Trial Attorney in the St. Clair County District Attorney’s Office. I am currently in my thirteenth year as District Attorney and twenty-fourth year as a career prosecutor. Prior to serving as Chief Trial Attorney, I served as an Assistant District Attorney in Tuscaloosa County and Jefferson County as well as serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Violent Crimes Division of the Office of the Attorney General under both Jeff Sessions, current US Attorney General, and Bill Pryor, Jr., a current judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.During my tenure as District Attorney from 2006-2011, I served as the Acting Attorney General and Special Prosecutor for the State of Alabama overseeing the State of Alabama’s interest in a joint federal and state investigation of public corruption in the Post Secondary System of Alabama. This investigation led to the conviction of the former Chancellor of Post Secondary, state legislators, and a multitude of others.
I have had the honor to serve as President, Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer of the Alabama District Attorneys Association. Currently, I am appointed by the Chief Justice as a member of the State of Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee. In addition, I currently serve on the Alabama Sentencing Commission Standards Committee, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice & Delinquincy Prevention, the Governor’s Juvenile Crime Enforcement Coalition, the Board of Directors of VOCAL, and the United States Attorney’s Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for the Northern District of Alabama. In the past, I served on the State of Alabama Pattern Jury Instructions (Criminal) Committee, the Review Committee for Alabama’s Protocol for the Examination and Treatment of Sexual Assault, and the Pell City Housing Authority.
- What was your first job before college/adulthood and after? My first job before college was serving ice cream at Baskin Robbins. In addition, I spent the summer before college working for my hometown painting fire hydrants and checking the nuts and bolts on all street signs.
During law school, I served as a law clerk for then US Attorney Jeff Sessions in the Southern District of Alabama. During law school, I served as a paid law clerk in the United States Attorneys Office in Birmingham assigned to the Criminal Division and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.Upon graduation of Cumberland School of Law, I became an Assistant District Attorney for Tuscaloosa County where I was assigned to the District Court. After a short period of time, I was assigned to the West Alabama Narcotics Squad (WANS) where I prosecuted all felony drug offenses committed in Tuscaloosa County.
- In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? To offer the citizens an opportunity to have someone on the court who has 24 years of specializing in criminal law and who has followed the rule of law. That is, I am offering myself as a judge that will apply the law as it is written, not what it should be. In doing so, the people will have the opportunity to elect someone who has a proven conservative record and someone who will uphold the United States Constitution and founding principles of our Founding Fathers.
- Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? Before making my final decisions to run for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, I spoke to my family, close friends, and Judge Bill Pryor, Jr., Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Pryor is a former boss and someone whose opinion I deeply value. As someone with firsthand knowledge of running a statewide campaign and serving as an appellate judge, he provided valuable insight. Once I made my decision in late May 2017, I did call Chairwoman Terry Lathan of the Alabama Republican Party to tell her of my intentions. During the summer of 2017, I also spoke with members of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
- Who do you count on for advice besides significant other or clergy? Other than my wife and pastor, the two people I count on most for advice are my father and my twin brother.
- Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? My campaign consultant is Angi Horn Stalnaker.
- Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate? My first contributor was my primary physician, Dr. Bill McClanahan. He understand the need that our elected officials have the utmost integrity and ethical standards. Furthermore, he understands the need for conservative judges who will follow the rule of law. That is, say what the law is, not what it should be.
- Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? Although he may not realize it, one of the people that works in state government that inspires me is Graham Sisson, Jr. Graham is the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office on Disability. I had the honor and privilege to meet Graham in 2016 during Class 27 of Leadership Alabama. Graham was injured in a head-on motor vehicle collision. He was hit by a drunk driver. Despite his permanent paralysis from the waist down, Graham never let his disability prevent him from his goals. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt School of Law and works to help citizens of our state who face challenges and struggles some of us will never know or understand.
- Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to about it? People mistrust elected officials because of the well known ethical and integrity issues that have plagued some of our elected officials over the last ten years. As a judge, I can only say that I will follow the rule of law in every decision I make.However, as a prosecutor, I think my stance on public corruption by both elected officials and public employees is clear. All one has to do is look at the success we achieved during the Post Secondary Investigation wherein the Chancellor of Post Secondary, legislators, and a multitude of others were convicted. Furthermore, just last year as a special prosecutor in Marshall County, we achieved a conviction against a former employee of the City of Albertville. We were able to have the court forfeit her state retirement and have the employees part paid to the City of Albertville towards the $800,000 restitution as ordered by the court.
- What are 3 specific policy positions that you’re running on? (Please don’t simply say “education” or “improving the schools”). The Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics prevent the answering of this question as written. However, my campaign is running on a proven conservative record of Experience, Integrity, and Service.
- What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in? The Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics prevent the answering of this question.
- Name one current state law you would want repealed? The Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics prevent the answering of this question.
- Who was the best governor in Alabama’s modern history? The best Governor I personally knew was Governor Albert Brewer. As a student at Cumberland School of Law, Governor Brewer’s Professional Responsibility class taught me the importance of professionalism and the need for ethical behavior by attorneys. He was the epitome of a true statesman.Our judicial system, as we know it today, is a direct result of his time as Governor of Alabama. During his limited tenure, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and Alabama Court of Civil Appeals was established. Also, during this two year period, the Ethics Commission was created. His investment in our state and his students continues to deliver rewards to this day. If blessed to be elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals, I will earnestly strive to uphold the principles Governor Brewer taught: professionalism, integrity, and ethical behavior.
- What will set you apart from other candidates in this race? I believe my twenty four years specializing in the criminal law, running an office within budget for the last fourteen years, and my service to the citizens and school students will separate myself from any other candidate in my race for the Court of Criminal Appeals. Having handled hundreds, if not thousands, of misdemeanor and felony prosecutions means I will not need on the job training.As I have said before, I have handled everything from traffic tickets to capital murder and everything in between. I have tried in excess of ten capital murder cases and was able to achieve the ultimate sentence of death in at least four of those cases. Not only does each judge on the court render opinions based on the law, each judge is given a budget for his or her office that must be followed.Over the last fourteen years, I have managed personnel in two courthouse within budget, even when faced with proration. Finally, since being elected I have tried to have an impact in my community.Whether serving on the State Board of VOCAL, the Pell City Housing Authority, the DARE Board of Pell City, the Board of Directors for the St. Clair County Children’s Advocacy Center, the State of Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee, or the many other state and local boards I have the pleasure to serve on, the first priority is always the citizens of our state and community. This is especially true with the my specially designed programs to help our school age students deal with everything from laws that affect our middle and high school students to our Cybercrime 101 presentation dealing with social media.
- What’s the first thing you read each morning? The first thing I read every morning is God’s word via a One Year Bible study. There is a short devotional followed by scripture from the Old Testament, New Testament, Proverbs, and Psalms. After that, I usually scroll through my Twitter feed to see the news of the morning.
- Where do you get your political news? I get my political news from Fox News, various Alabama social media blogs, and talk radio.
- Favorite TV series? Favorite TV series is a hard one. It would be between The Sopranos and The Wire. Just behind would be The Andy Griffith Show.
- Social media presence? Twitter handle? Facebook? Who posts you, campaign staff, combination?
- In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message. My tweet would read, “Proven conservative; Faith, Integrity, Experience & Service. One who will say what the law is, not what it should be.”
- Hobbies? My hobbies can best be described as my kids. From softball, basketball, and baseball, including travel baseball, scheduling of time becomes a priority. Otherwise, I love to read. Recently, I have read or am reading, other than my scripture readings to start my day, “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts” by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner, “Nino & Me: My Unusual Friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia” by Bryan Garner, “Lead Yourself First” by Judge Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin, “Point Taken” by Ross Guberman, “The Daniel Dilemma” by Pastor Chris Hodges, and “Assassination Generation” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.
- Favorite sport and sports team? My favorite sport other than anything my kids are participating in, is college football. I love to watch college football, any team, but my favorite is my alma mater, Auburn University.