On Tuesday, December 20, 2022, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) filed a complaint against Steven D. King, Circuit Judge of the Forty-First Judicial Circuit, Blount County, for violating the canons of judicial ethics.

The filing in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary is styled as “In the Matter of Judge Steven King,” with case number #63.

The allegations include violations of the Alabama Code of Judicial Ethics, including Canon 1, Canon 2A, Canon 2B, Canon 2.3, and Canon 2C. These ethics rules generally require:

A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

A judge should participate in… maintaining… , and should himself ‘observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.

A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities.

A judge… should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

A judge should at all times maintain the decorum and temperance befitting his office.

A judge… should avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.

A judge should not allow his family, social, political, or other relationships to influence his
judicial conduct or judgment.

A judge should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests others.

According to the complaint, Judge King allegedly sent an anonymous letter criticizing language used by County Commissioner Dean Calvert in a hidden recording in 2020. The JIC further alleged that Judge King requested Calvert’s resignation in writing to a probate judge.

The complaint states:

“Judge King’s actions in authoring the letter anonymously and having an attorney, who regularly appears before him in Blount County Circuit Court, mail the packages for him, rather than mailing them himself, demonstrate that Judge King knew that this conduct constituted impropriety, or created the appearance thereof, and was inappropriate for one who holds judicial office.

Judge King furthered this act of impropriety in the September 14, 2020, letter to Judge Green by creating the false impression that he was not involved in authoring or sending the packages to several media outlets and Blount County officials, including himself. This too demonstrates that Judge King knew that his conduct constituted impropriety, or created the appearance thereof, and was inappropriate for one who holds judicial office.”

Upon the filing of the JIC’s complaint, Judge King was immediately suspended in accordance with Alabama law. If found guilty, Judge King could face a fine or lose his seat on the bench.

The Judge earned a law degree from Samford University in 1988.
The Judge is in Courtroom 207, 220 Second Avenue East in Oneonta, and can be reached at (205) 625-4145. His info can be found here.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.