Attorney General Bill Pryor in a court filing says there was nothing unusual or illegal about the Alabama Supreme Court randomly selecting retired judges to hear the appeal of ousted Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.
The names of the seven judges were drawn randomly to consider Moore's appeal of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removing him from office for refusing a federal judge's order to move his 53-hundred-pound Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.
A replacement court became necessary after the eight Supreme Court justices stepped down from hearing Moore's case. Moore's attorneys filed a motion Tuesday -- objecting to the process used to select the replacement judges. The motion says that state law calls for replacements to be selected by the governor.
Pryor's response to Moore's challenge of the replacement court, filed yesterday, says Governor Riley approved of the process used to pick the new court. Pryor prosecuted Moore in his trial before the Court of the Judiciary.
Pryor acknowledged Alabama has contradicting laws dealing with the appointment of replacement justices. But he says that in recent years -- the justices have consistently appointed replacements when they have stepped down from a case.
In a seperate development, Moore's wife, Kayla, is headed back to court herself. A retrial has been granted in the auto accident suit she filed. Mrs. Moore was awarded more than $270,000 in damages following a jury trial in September. She was injured when she was hit by a car in 1999 while walking to her car in the Colonial Mall-Gadsden parking lot.
The United Services Automobile Association filed the motion for a new trial on the grounds that any suggestion during trial that a defendant is insured is prejudicial and constitutes reversible error. Retired Judge Henry W. Blizzard, who presided over the trial, last month ordered a new trial, but didn't set a date for it.
In the September trial, the verdict form submitted by the court to the jurors contained the style of the case, describing Kayla Moore as the plaintiff and the United Services Automobile Association as the defendant. Judge Blizzard's retrial order says the suggestion that the defendant is insured in the case is prejudicial and constitutes reversible error.