Court issues decision on Judge Wiggins

Published: Jul. 30, 2009 at 7:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2009 at 10:53 PM CDT
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Judge Wiggins (Source: ASU Board members website)
Judge Wiggins (Source: ASU Board members website)

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, which convenes only to hear complaints filed against judges, has handed down it's decision in the case of Hale County Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins.

Wiggins was accused of not stepping aside in a voter fraud case involving three family members.

The Judiciary Commission, saying there was no excuse or justification for the judge's actions, issued a public reprimand and a final judgment in the case Thursday.

Wiggins was found guilty of violating numerous Canons of Judicial Ethics, was censured and suspended from the court without pay for 90 days. However, since Wiggins had been barred from the court for 90 days with pay back in May, he'll be reinstated to service on Monday, August 3. He'll serve without pay for three months beyond that date, upon which his normal salary will be reinstated.

The case against Wiggins started after he convened a grand jury at the request of Attorney General Troy King's office to investigate voter fraud in Hale County. During the fraud investigation the AG's office issued a subpoena and a Hale County District Court judge authorized a search warrant.

Wiggins stepped in and quashed both the warrant and the subpoena without being assigned to the motion or giving the AG a chance for rebuttal.

King's office demanded Wiggins recuse himself from the case because he was related to Hale County Clerk Gay Nell Tinker, which posed a conflict of interest. Tinker is Wiggins' sister.

While Judge Wiggins' order did not directly involve Tinker, the commission found that he knew she as well as the judge's brother-in-law, Bobby Singleton, and cousin, Carrie Reaves, were among several individuals being investigated in the voter-fraud case.

It took the judge nearly a month to step aside even after orders from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

Wiggins could have faced a more severe punishment including removal from the bench.

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