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GOP sends Riley names for judge
Republican group recommends 4 to governor for Morgan position

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

The Morgan County Republican Executive Committee sent four names to the governor for the county's third District Court judgeship.

Members tried to keep the names secret, but the governor's office released them.

"We all agreed that those on the committee would not tell anyone who was recommended," said attorney John Mays, vice chairman of the committee.

Gov. Bob Riley's office said the committee recommended Assistant District Attorneys Wesley Lavender and Brent Craig, and attorneys Jon Sedlak and Charles Langham.

The committee chose the four from 11 lawyers who applied.

Todd Stacy, the governor's deputy press secretary, said the committee's selections will be treated the same as recommendations from others.

"That's just one of several sources from which the governor received recommendations," Stacy said. "He received recommendations from other sources, and all names will be considered. He will choose those he will interview."

Other candidates who submitted applications to the committee and Riley are Assistant District Attorney Paul Matthews and lawyers Jerry Knight, Tom Di Giulian, Richard Sparkman, Britt Cauthen, Tim Kyle and Huel Harris.

Langham and Matthews ran unsuccessfully last year for the position vacated by retired Judge David Bibb. Shelly Waters won.

"The governor wanted us to send at least three and no more than four names," Mays said. "We chose four and said these are the individuals that we think are best suited for the position. The governor will make the final decision. He may say that he thinks the names we sent are awful and choose others. He can do that."

Mays said the next step is a visit to Montgomery.

"I would assume that the four individuals will get invitations to attend an interview that will probably be conducted by the governor's appointments secretary," said Mays. "We are not even telling the candidates that we've recommended them."

Stacy said the governor will make that decision because everyone who applied will be considered.

The local legislative delegation, with Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur, introducing legislation, got the third judgeship approved in 2000. Funding became available this year as the result of work by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, with state officials and Riley.

The beginning judge's salary is $114,892.30, and a judicial assistant's salary is $28,914.60, according to the state Administrative Office of Courts. Orr said it costs about $270,000 to run the office.

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