Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker Under Investigation for Judicial Misconduct

Published: Mar. 14, 2006 at 11:17 PM CST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2006 at 1:55 AM CDT
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For the second time in three years, an Alabama Supreme Court justice is under investigation for violating judicial rules.

A Tuscaloosa lawyer filed a complaint against Tom Parker, and now, Parker is firing back.

Interestingly, the dispute sounds very similar to the controversy surrounding Parker's mentor, Roy Moore.

The fight centers on how Alabama should react to a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning the death penalty for kids under eighteen, a decision even many liberal Democrats criticize.

"There's no law in it," said Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks.  "It simply says we polled America and America's not so pro-Death Penalty anymore."
Brooks made those comments in 2004.
In 2005, the Alabama Supreme Court reviewed the death penalty for Renaldo Adams, convicted of raping and killing a pregnant woman in cold blood. Justices voted 8-0 to follow the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. 
Tom Parker protested vehemently.
"I wanted to give the U.S. Supreme Court another chance to get it right. We have a changing composition of the U.S. Supreme Court," said Parker

But it was a Birmingham News editorial Parker wrote January 1, 2006 that prompted lawyer Joel Sogol's complaint.))

In it, Parker said the Alabama's justices should have declined to follow the high court's order, similar to Roy Moore's monument stand. Sogol says thats set up the same kind of violation Moore committed.
Parker says the complaint is just part of an ACLU agenda.

"It's just another shot in the war to force political correctness on all Alabamians and turn us into another San Francisco," Parker said.Despite Parker's assertion, the ACLU doesn't appear to have a stake in this fight, at least, not officially.

Lawyer Joel Sogel told WSFA in a phone interview he hasn't worked for them in about eight years.

He says Parker is only saying that to deflect attention from Parker's violation of the law.

Sogel says Parker could have used judicial language in a dissent asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider. He says Parker crossed the line when he said Alabama should defy the order completely and especially when he did so in a newspaper.

The Judicial Inquiry Commission will investigate the claim.  If it appears Parker violated the rules, the Commission will send the case to the Court of Judicial Appeals.

Reporter: Chris Holmes