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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014

Judge Profile William H. Weems, Jr.; Law Offices of William H. Weems, Jr. The Minds Behind the Robes As part of a continuing series regarding members of our local judiciary, this article profiles the Honorable Shantá Owens, 10th Judicial Circuit. Born and raised in the Birmingham-Bessemer area, Judge Owens is a proud product of our public school system, having graduated from Ramsay Alternative High School. She thereafter received her undergraduate degree in computer information systems from Alabama State University, going on to earn dual degrees - a Juris Doctorate and a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from Louisiana State University School of Law and the Aix-Marseille Université combined programs. Upon returning to Birmingham, she accepted a position as Deputy District Attorney for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, soon rising to senior trial attorney in her assigned courtrooms, handling over 100 Class A and capital offenses. The Judge was elected to the bench in 2008, where she presides over the Drug Court program for the Birmingham Division of Jefferson County - the rehabilitation program offering nonviolent offenders the ability to pursue a drug-free life. She is a member of both the National and the Alabama Associations of Drug Court Professionals, the Alabama District Judges Association, the Alabama State Bar Association, the Judicial Council of the Magic City Bar Association, and the Women Lawyers and Criminal Justice Sections of the Birmingham Bar Association. The Judge states that the sheer number of drug-related offenses arising in the jurisdiction continue to provide a challenge to our community, especially to our youth. She suggests that increased parental awareness, followed by appropriate family involvement, as well as the institution and progression of drug education programs in our middle and high schools would help to reduce those numbers. Having married her high school sweetheart, she and husband, Rahman Owens, take an active role in raising their two young children. Judge Owens is also a member of the Children’s Village Board of Directors, and a former member of the Redmont School in the Waldorf Tradition, the Jones Valley Development Corporation and the Birmingham Public Library. When asked about young lawyers appearing before the bench, the Judge says, “Always introduce yourself to the Court, be respectful to others, and then find a mentor. Remember to listen to your client, and establish a good working relationship with the District Attorney.” Understandably so, lawyers who are “habitually late,” especially those who fail to call the court to advise of their delay, are a “pet peeve.” The Judge maintains an open door policy for attorneys practicing before the Court. While Drug Court hearings are usually conducted on Thursdays, and while other matters are scheduled throughout the work-week, other issues, such as bond reduction requests, can be addressed any day. Judge Owens may be reached through her very capable and helpful staff by dialing 205.325.5013 or by visiting her chambers in Room 305 of the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Building. G 20 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014
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