Judge Smith to run for high court

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge Patti Smith is expected to announce her intentions to vie for the state Supreme Court today.

Sources inside the county courthouse indicate Judge Smith has made her decision and plans to formally announce her candidacy on the steps of the courthouse on Wednesday.

&uot;I am humbled by the encouragement I have received from many people across the state who have asked me to run, and it is something I am prayerfully considering,&uot; she said in an earlier interview prior to making her decision.

Smith will be on the ballot for one of two open seats on the Alabama Supreme Court. The two seats are being vacated by retiring justices Gorman Houston and Douglas Johnstone.

Judge Smith, 51, was appointed as district judge at age 27, making her one of the youngest judges appointed in state history as well as one of the longest serving.

She was appointed as the presiding district court judge for Shelby County in January 1980, was elected in November 1980 and re-elected in 1986, 1992 and 1998.

Before that, she served as assistant district attorney from 1976-80 and practiced law with the firm of Bell, Johnson and Medaris.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1973 from Troy State University and graduated from Jones School of Law in 1976.

She is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Alabama Association of District Court Judges and the Alabama Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

She was instrumental in the creation and development of many worthwhile organizations in the county including the CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) program, the DAY (Developing Alabama’s Youth) program and the Early Warning Program, all organizations geared toward assisting children in need and unifying families.

She also organized the county’s Children’s Policy Council.

She has been the recipient of the National CASA Judge of the Year Award

She has also been appointed by three different governors and two separate Supreme Court chief justices to serve on various committees including The Governor’s Commission on Crime; the Task Force on Dependency, where she served as chairman; the Commission on The Future of the Juvenile Justice System; the Interagency Conference on Youth, serving as chairman; the Alabama Judicial System Study Commission on Sentencing; and The Juvenile Justice Foundation.

She is also a former or current member of the boards of directors or advisory boards of the following: CASA; the DAY program; Family Connection Inc.; King’s Ranch Inc.; the Optimist Club, where she serves as essay and oratorical chairman; the Department of Youth Services Judge’s Advisory Board; and the Shelby County Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community.

Judge Smith and her husband, Jerry, have two children, Shelley and Jarrett.