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Selma court convicts Senator Sanders’ wife of disorderly conduct

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

SELMA — Prominent Selma attorney Faya Rose Toure, the wife of state Sen. Hank Sanders, was convicted Wednesday in Selma Municipal Court of disorderly conduct and failure to obey an order from a police officer.

Municipal Judge Cliff Price ruled she disrupted municipal court in January and willfully refused orders to leave the courtroom. He fined her $250 plus court costs on each charge.

Toure, who is black, said she was disappointed that Selma’s black mayor, James Perkins, appointed a white judge and white prosecutor to handle her case after local officials stepped aside.

Price, a municipal judge in Leeds, said he was troubled by the case, but the testimony showed Toure became overzealous in defending a client in Municipal Court and told the spectators, “This white judge is going to run over this young man. What are you going to do about it?”

“That was inflammatory enough,” Price said.

Toure was arrested Jan. 9 after Municipal Court Judge Valerie Chittom found Toure’s client guilty of public intoxication without the defendant testifying. Toure protested, resulting in a verbal exchange with the judge and police officer Jimmy Crow arresting Toure after she refused the judge’s directions to be quiet and leave the courtroom.

Toure, a founder of the National Voting Rights Hall of Fame in Selma, received international news coverage in March when she helped induct President Clinton into the hall of fame as two presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, watched.

Toure, who represented herself and questioned witnesses, told the judge that she is naturally loud, especially when she thinks a client is having his constitutional rights violated.

But she said, “My level of representation did not reach the level of disorderly conduct.”

City Prosecutor Austin Keith, who was prosecuting Toure’s client in January, said the judge did find Toure’s client guilty without hearing his testimony, but he said Toure also refused orders to leave the courtroom.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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