On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary censured Edmond G. Naman, judge of Circuit 13 in Mobile County. The case is entitled “In the matter of Edmond G. Naman.” with case no. 64.

The charges cited Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics Canon 3B(4) which states:

A Judge should exercise his power of appointment only on the basis of merit, avoiding nepotism and favoritism.

On February 7, 2023, a complaint was filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) alleging that the respondent violated the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics by using his position to appoint his brother-in-law on numerous occasions over a period of 11 years to juvenile court indigent cases, in which the latter received substantial compensation.

The filing states:

“Beginning in the fiscal year 2008 and continuing until the early fiscal year 2019 when Judge Naman received the complaint filed with the Commission underlying this charge, Judge Naman appointed the spouse of Judge Naman’s sister, i.e., his brother-in-law, an attorney practicing in Mobile County, to numerous dockets. Those appointments over that eleven-year period constitute a pattern and practice of Judge Naman’s use of his appointment authority to appoint a relative.”

The filing continues:

“Judge Naman appointed his brother-in-law to represent indigent children on the daily arraignment docket for one week each month; the disposition docket one day a month; and, beginning in 2014, the “gun court” docket, for Judge Naman’s post-adjudication monitoring of children who have been adjudicated as having committed a gun crime. The “gun court” convened once a week for approximately one hour.”

On the same day of the filing of the complaint, the respondent filed a joint motion to set an expedited hearing and agreement and stipulation of the parties. In the said agreement both parties agreed that judge Naman would offer clear and convincing evidence of certain mitigating facts.

The filing further states:

“Both parties also agree that, Judge Naman would offer “clear and convincing evidence” of certain mitigating facts including that he immediately ceased appointing his brother-in-law upon receiving the complaint, that the “Commission’s investigation did not produce any indicia of corruption in Judge Naman’s appointments,” that the Commission’s “investigation did not produce any indicia of a financial loss to the state or the judicial system as a result of [his] appointments of his brother-in-law,” that he honestly and voluntarily cooperated with the Commission’s investigation, that the appointments were made with the motivation of ensuring that “indigent juveniles and their families received.. quality representation,” that he “made no effort to be secretive about his appointments,” that he “will not appoint his brother in-law in the future,” that his “service to the juvenile court and the population it serves has been exemplary,” and that he has used this “experience as an opportunity to evaluate all his judicial and administrative duties through the perspective of the Canons.”

In light of the factual allegations and the agreement made by the parties, the court decided to censure the respondent.

The Disposition states:

“The Court of the Judiciary considered this joint agreement and the parties’ proposed resolution at a public hearing held in the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building on March 2, 2023. The Court takes no position on the interpretation by either party of Canon 3B(4). Although not unanimous, with the concurrence of 6 or more members of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, this Court accepts the parties’ proposed resolution and hereby orders the following:

1. Judge Naman is adjudged guilty of violating Canon 3B(4) of the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics
2. Judge Naman is censured. Any remaining claims in this proceeding against Judge
3. Naman is hereby dismissed with prejudice.”

Judge Naman attended the Jones School of Law.

Judge Naman’s courtroom is located at 205 Government St, Mobile, AL, and can be reached at +1 251-574-8806. His info can be found on ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.