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Bulletin

President’s Message Joseph A. Fawal From the President At the close of my term, I must re- sistance Program to benefit members of Another area of interest was the flect on that age-old axiom, “my how time our Bar in need of help with depression, work of the new Indigent Defense Com- flies.” While this year has not been one of substance abuse, or mental health issues. mittee. As you may know, the State Leg- radical issues before the Bar, we expect to Another is to divert funds to the Bir- islature has attempted to restructure the accomplish several modest goals by year mingham Bar Foundation for use in its vehicle for delivering representation to end which will help us to advance our pur- continuing charitable activities. Deter- indigent criminal defendants. As part of pose, vision and values. At the beginning mining the highest and best use for these that restructuring, the Legislature created of this year, I established two task forces. funds consistent with the stated goals of an Indigent Defense Committee for each The first was to update and amend our or- the Trust will hopefully result in renewed Circuit. The Committee is comprised of ganizational bylaws. Pending approval at assistance for our members in need. the Chief Judge of the Circuit, the Presi- our annual meeting, our bylaws and oper- An area in which substantial activ- dent of the local bar, and three at-large ating procedures will be updated to allow ity took place this year was with regard to members selected by the Bar Commis- for such things as telephone participation the 2012 Judicial Elections. In my first sioners for each Circuit. The Commit- by Executive Committee Members, a law President’s Page, I wrote about the need tee’s charge is to determine the best student membership category, and other for our Bar to help inform the community manner of delivery of indigent criminal changes designed to streamline the Bar’s at large about judicial candidates and to defense. After a long and detailed ex- operation and help move it forward. provide input regarding judicial qualifica- amination of our system in the 10th Judi- The second task force was established tions. We conducted a membership poll cial Circuit, and after visiting the Public to examine the purpose and utility of the for both the primary and general elec- Defender’s office in Nashville, Tennessee, Bar Aid Trust Fund. While this group tions, and issued press releases containing the Committee recommended the in- has not yet reached a definitive recom- the results. We also institutionalized the stitution of a Public Defender’s office as mendation, it may be prudent for it to Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee, the best means to deliver such services. continue its work next year. As some of ably chaired by Dean John Carroll, so that We are presently interviewing applicants you know, the Bar Aid Trust was created it will continue to exist for future judicial for the position of Public Defender, and in the 1950’s for the purpose of providing elections. The purpose of the Committee once complete, we will make our recom- aid to Bar members in need of financial is to help ensure that candidates for judi- mendation to Ricky McKinney, the State assistance. While its original purpose was cial office comply with the Canons of Ju- Director. This marks a substantial change exemplary and a number of Bar members dicial Ethics as they apply to campaigns. from past practice, and in my view, and have benefitted over the years, it has be- The Committee met and established its the views of other Committee members, come challenging to administer and the statement of purpose and operating pro- it is one that is long overdue. The 10th Trust has not recently been used for its cedures, and as of this writing, no com- Judicial Circuit, and Birmingham in par- original purposes and goals. One possi- plaints have been received. The Commit- ticular, has long been one of the largest bility is to allocate a portion of the funds tee stands ready, however, to handle any metropolitan areas in the country without to the Alabama State Bar’s Lawyer As- such matters should they arise. a Public Defender’s office, and the Com- 8 Birmingham Bar Association


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