Party pulls nominee in Montgomery family court judge race
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Democratic Party has unanimously withdrawn its nominee for a Montgomery family court judge’s seat following a show- cause hearing.
Family law attorney Sebrina Martin recently secured her party’s nomination for the office of Montgomery County Circuit Judge (Place 3) but claims of child abuse and other concerns quickly began to surface against her, prompting the party to investigate the allegations.
The party issued a show-cause order on July 1 to give Martin a chance to make her case to determine if she would be disqualified. On Monday, a subcommittee of the State Democratic Executive Committee met and unanimously made its decision against the nominee.
The state party said in a statement Tuesday that evidence presented at the hearing showed that Martin provided “incomplete, misleading, and false information to the Alabama Ethics Commission through her Statement of Economic Interests.”
A group of lawyers had raised four primary concerns about Martin, who currently has two adopted children. Those included the following:
- “Martin intentionally falsified her Statement of Economic Interest with the Alabama Ethics Commission form by stating she had no adult children.” Martin has nine children, four of whom are adults.
- “Martin violated portions of the Alabama Rules of Professional Responsibility by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.”
- “Martin violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act.” By distributing misleading campaign material that could have people think Martin was already a Circuit Judge.
- Martin and her campaign distributed misleading sample ballots.
Two days after the letter was addressed, Martin posted a video on Facebook addressing the child abuse allegations and her divorce case.
“You don’t know what it’s like to go through a divorce until you go through a divorce,” she said in the video. “You don’t know what it’s like to adopt a child until you adopt one. And you don’t know what it’s like to go through losing custody of a child until you lose one.”
“Every candidate that seeks ballot access through the Alabama Democratic Party must comply with all mandatory disclosure requirements, including completing their Statement of Economic Interests,” said Party Chair Rep. Chris England. “This requirement is especially important for judges and candidates for judicial offices, because they are held to a higher ethical standard. Full and accurate disclosures ensure voters can confidently cast their ballot.”
The party will select a new nominee for the race at its organizational meeting in Birmingham on Aug. 13.
Martin sent the following statement in response to the party’s decision:
“I have learned of the subcommittee’s proposed action. To say the least, I am deeply saddened that an effort is being made by people who mostly live many miles from this place we call home to erase the work of our campaign volunteers and supporters over the last year. We feel strongly that “Your vote matters” and that elections should be decided by our Montgomery County citizens, but unfortunately that does not appear right now to be true for the people of Montgomery. No matter what the outcome, I will keep working every day to make our community better for our children and families. That’s what I ran on, that’s why I won, that’s what I live and will continue living.”
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