Many people want to know who will be the judge on their Alabama appellate court case. The answer is that we will not know which judge was assigned the case until the judge issues a ruling.
The procedure in Alabama is that appeals will be ruled on by the entire appellate court that is hearing the case, whether it is the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, or the Alabama Supreme Court. However, each case is randomly assigned to one of the appellate court judges to conduct the initial review of the briefs and the record. That judge and his or her staff attorneys will review the case and prepare a proposed order on how that judge believes the case should be addressed by the appellate court. The order is then circulated among all of the other appellate court judges on that particular court to see if they agree or disagree with the ruling. This process is how some appellate court opinions wind up having dissenting opinions or concurring opinions published along with the main opinion drafted by the judge who originally had the case.
The process can become more complicated depending on the number of judges who disagree with the ruling. However, the point is that you do not learn the identity of the judge who has primary responsibility on a case until the ruling is issued.
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