The Alabama Judicial Canons are the baseline ethics that Alabama Judges are suppose to abide by. In Baldwin County the Canons have NO powder, because there is no accountability.
Canon 2: “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities”.
Would it appear to be improper to be appointed as a judge, who is a developer, and then the same council that appointed him, approves the judge/developer’s, development plans?
What about a Judge that is forced to recuse himself from real estate fraud cases due to his personal interest in real estate? Or his personal business interests that are a direct conflict of interest?
Do you think there is an “appearance of impropriety” when a judge is involved with questionable bids at the Fairhope Airport, involving his personal jet hanger? Or maybe the “appearance” of the city council president entertained on a free flight?
The Ripp Report and BCLE are offering a $5k cash award to anyone who can prove that the contents of the formal complaint against Councilman Jack Burrell of Fairhope are false. Prove that the documents quoted or provided are fabricated or altered from their original copies or that there is any willful malicious intent to mislead the public for any reason or to unlawfully disparage Mr. Burrell by making fictitious claims or providing erroneous documents, and you will be five thousand dollars ($5k) richer.
What about the way the judge renders his decisions? The appearance of impropriety is fueled by public opinion and cases that are politically connected and resolved by questionable judicial actions, certainly give the appearance of impropriety, Case in point: The McSharry assault case.
A judge interfering, using his position, in a police investigation involving his son, is certainly improper.
Ask yourself do you think that the fox news release did NOT know that Judge Norton’s son was driving the boat. It was never made public, what else do we NOT know?
Canon’s number one and number five would also be applicable to the above situations.
So why are Baldwin County Judges allowed to blatantly violate these canons? Because the canons have NO powder.
Judge Norton and Judge Snedeker are two, of several judges in Baldwin County who have been garnering attention due to their non-judicial activities. Their development and real estate interests are clouding their judiciary responsibilities and clearly violate the Canons of Judicial Ethics.
Canons of Judicial Ethics
A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities.
A judge should perform the duties of his office impartially and diligently.
A judge may engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
A judge should regulate his extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his judicial duties.
A judge should regularly file reports of his financial interests.
A judge or a judicial candidate shall refrain from political activity inappropriate to judicial office.
Voters are who have the powder. Judge Norton and Judge Snedeker should be voted out of office. Judicial Canons are worthless without accountability and Alabama has NO accountability.
These two judges represent the truest form of “impropriety and the appearance of impropriety”.
The boating accident involving Judge Norton’s son was tragic, and no farther would be worth his salt if he did not support his son in such a situation. However, Judge Norton is a Judge. If the allegations are true, that he interfered in any way with a police investigation, he should resign immediately.
Last but not least is Canon 7: Judge Snedeker and Judge Norton are supporters of Catalyst/ Scott Boone Consulting, the ultimate good ole boy cartel. That is “political activity inappropriate to judicial office”.