John graduated in the top 5% of his law school class at the University of Alabama
School of Law and has been a licensed practicing attorney in Elmore County for over
35 years. Between 1996 and 2011 inclusive, John won 13 of the 14 cases that he argued
in the Alabama Supreme Court and the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
John is the only candidate for probate judge who has actually filed and processed
a probate court case, or represented a party in a probate court proceeding. He is
the only candidate that has courtroom litigation experience, or who has been required
to become familiar with and apply in real time the 902 pages of the Alabama Rules
of Civil Procedure and the Alabama Rules of Evidence. John has a great deal of personal
experience handling cases in the Probate Court of Elmore County and the probate courts
of surrounding counties. He has regularly represented clients in all of the matters
over which the Probate Court of Elmore County has jurisdiction, including the probating
of wills and the administration of the estates of deceased persons, conservatorships
and guardianships over minors and incompetent persons, adoptions, name changes, the
condemnation of real property for public purposes, legitimations, the commitment
of mentally incompetent persons, the annexation of territory by municipalities, and
In the years 2002-2003, John fought the 1.5% Montgomery County Occupational Tax.
He represented at no charge all of the citizens of Elmore County who worked in Montgomery
County. He personally wrote the entire brief that was filed with the appellate court
on behalf of the non-residents of Montgomery County, and he orally argued the case
successfully before a special session of the Alabama Supreme Court held in Dothan.
Since 2003, Elmore County residents employed in Montgomery County have avoided the
payment of literally millions of dollars in taxes. As Probate Judge of Elmore County,
John would rely upon the same principles of fairness and hard work which motivated
him to fight this unfair tax.
John served as the County Attorney for Elmore County for ten years and knows how
the probate judge must work cooperatively with other county officials, such as the
sheriff in the commitment of incompetent persons, the revenue commissioner in the
redemption of real properties sold for taxes, and the county commission in the conduct
of elections and election contests.
John has been recognized by his peers and his community as a quality professional
and as a civic leader, having served as president of the following organizations:
Elmore County Bar Association, Montgomery Federal Bar Association, Wetumpka Area
Chamber of Commerce, Wetumpka Rotary Club, and Elmore County Children’s Home.
As a real estate attorney, John is familiar with the recording process for deeds,
mortgages, plats, business entities, liens, and powers of attorney.
The law of Alabama makes an important distinction based on whether the probate judge
is a licensed attorney or not. Section 22-52-15 of the Code of Alabama requires
the circuit court to totally re-try a probate court commitment proceeding where a
party is not happy with the order of a probate judge who is not a licensed attorney.
If the probate judge is a licensed attorney, then the case does not have to be retried
from scratch. The dissatisfied party may appeal on the record directly to the Alabama
Court of Civil Appeals, thus saving the court system time and the taxpayers money
so long as the probate judge is a licensed attorney.
In Writ of Mandamus actions, John has represented the current Probate Judge of Elmore
County in his official capacity, including one case which John successfully argued
before the Supreme Court of Alabama.