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January 20, 2012

Williams seeking Place 2 circuit judge seat

CULLMAN — Current public prosecutor Martha E. Williams has announced she will seek the Republican nomination for the Place 2 circuit judge’s seat in the March party primary.

Williams, who has served for the past seven years as an assistant district attorney for the Alabama 32nd judicial circuit in Cullman County, joins a crowded field of local attorneys hoping to move past the Republican primary election to run unopposed in November.

Williams said her ongoing service in the DA’s office, coupled with a prior career in private practice that spanned more than two decades, has afforded her the kind of well-rounded and diverse experience her fellow candidates can’t claim.

“I will bring more experience to the bench than any other candidate in this race,” said Williams. “You can ask any other lawyer I have worked with, or any judge before whom I have appeared, and they will tell you that I have earned my reputation for fairness and honesty.”

Williams had a general private practice for 23 years before joining the DA’s office in 2005. Since that time, she said she’s worked on both sides of nearly every aspect of the law.  

“I’ve handled virtually every aspect, including family, domestic, civil, personal injury, worker’s compensation, business, corporate, Social Security, juvenile dependency and delinquency as a certified Guardian Ad Litem,” said Williams. “I’ve also worked on criminal, probate, real estate, domestic and civil mediation, and civil and criminal jury trials — from the defense side as well as the prosecution side. I have served as the Administrative Law Judge for the State of Alabama Board of Auctioneers, and as an interim judge and prosecutor in municipal courts.”

Having spent the past seven years as a public prosecutor, Williams said she’s handled a wide variety of responsibilities in the state’s 32nd circuit and has a firsthand understanding of the culture she’d belong to as circuit judge. And, she added, the public can expect to see the same diligence she feels she’s demonstrated as an effective prosecutor in her current role, should she win the Republican nomination.

“I have a very strong conviction record in the DA’s office,” Williams said. “I have secured literally hundreds of years in sentencing against those who have harmed children in our community. I have been responsible for circuit court child support enforcement, defense of petitions for post-conviction claims, screening of felony warrant applications, and assisting in misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile court prosecutions, as needed.”

In addition to her accomplishments on the job, Williams cited her continual efforts to acquire advanced legal training and certification as assets that qualify her to see the law, as a judge, from all sides.

“I have extensive training and experience in civil, domestic, advanced domestic and appellate mediation,” said Williams. “I have juvenile drug court training from the U.S. Department of Justice, I’ve graduated from National Child Advocacy Center’s training for prosecution of child sexual abuse and trained at the National Symposium on Child Abuse. And I’ve attended numerous conferences on the prosecution of child sexual abuse, multidisciplinary team development and issues on prosecution advocacy.

“In Cullman County, I am recognized by many as an expert on researching, writing and arguing appeals. In the wider legal community in Alabama, I’m also recognized for my expertise in dispute resolution, and have served as a judge for students from across the country who attend the National Negotiation competition at the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham.”

Williams said all her distinctions and career accomplishments would mean little unless they’re paired with a commitment to fairness and maintaining the public’s trust as an elected official — a commitment she pledges to bring to the circuit judge’s seat.

“I have been an attorney for 30 years, and I’ve seen the confusion and the anxiety on the faces of the people who find themselves in a court room — often they are people who feel lost or fearful,” she said. “So often we hear about people who lack respect for their leaders or for those in authority, because people don’t trust them.

“As circuit judge, I will make sure that all parties who come before me — whether defendant or prosecutor, husband or wife, inured party or insurance company — will be heard, and will know that they were heard. People need to be assured and be able to trust that their claims or defenses have been respectfully considered, and that the law has been applied fairly. I’m ready to bring that kind of trust and respect to the people of Cullman County as you circuit judge.”

Born and raised in Cullman, Williams is the daughter of Dr. Roy and Lucile Williams. She is married to Bill McCartney. They have one daughter, Lucy.

Williams obtained her B.A. in Economics from Samford University, and her law degree from the University of Alabama. After law school, she served as law clerk to the presiding judge of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in Montgomery, before returning to Cullman in 1982 to enter private practice.

Williams maintains a campaign website at www.Williams4Judge.com and can be reached via email at Martha@Williams4Judge.com.

* Benjamin Bullard may be contacted at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 270.

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