Judge, district attorney ask to be recused from Acker case

Published 2:34 pm Friday, January 6, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves and Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens have asked to be recused from the case of a former Alabaster teacher who was arrested Jan. 4 and charged with three counts of sexually abusing a child.

Alabaster police arrested 49-year-old Daniel M. Acker Jr. and charged him with sexually assaulting a fourth-grade girl while he was serving as a teacher at Thompson Intermediate School. Police said Acker also admitted to molesting more than 20 other girls during his teaching tenure in Alabaster.

Circuit Court Supervisor Jill Smitherman verified Jan. 6 Reeves had submitted a motion to remove himself as the presiding judge for the case.

Owens said he had submitted a letter to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange asking Strange to appoint a special prosecutor on the case. Owens said he likely will handle the preliminary stages of the case, but would like to be removed from the case as soon as possible.

At about 3:50 p.m. Jan. 6, attorney general’s office spokeswoman Joy Patterson confirmed the office had received the request from Owens, and said the office will appoint a special prosecutor to the case.

“Dan senior is a friend of mine, and he is a county commissioner,” Owens said. “The commission funds my office, so I want to avoid the appearance of any impropriety.”

Owens said he was not involved in Acker’s grand jury hearing in 1992, and said former district attorney Mike Campbell participated in the hearing.

Acker, an Alabaster resident, is the son of Shelby County Commissioner Dan Acker Sr.

Acker currently is being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $545,000.