No timeline set on naming new probate judge

Published 12:48 am Saturday, March 26, 2016

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday no timeline has been set for when he will appoint a new probate judge for Covington County.

Sources close to the appointment process say there are nine applicants – seven attorneys and two non-attorneys – for the job, which was left open when Probate Judge Ben Bowden was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan, who retired. Bowden took the oath of office in his new role on March 17.

While the Code of Alabama requires that circuit and district judges be licensed members of the Alabama State Bar Association, probate judges are not required to be attorneys. The only requirement is that the probate judge have resided in the county for one year preceding his or her election or appointment. (Code of Alabama, Section 12-13-31)

According to the Code of Alabama, the chief probate clerk can perform all of the duties of the probate office, except those issues that might be contested. At present, Tracy Lawson is chief clerk of the probate office.