The Alabama Democratic Party (ADP) announced on Tuesday that it has removed Montgomery County judicial candidate Sebrina Martin from its Nov. 8 general ballot.

A subcommittee of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) of Alabama met on Monday concerning allegations that Martin was physically abusive to her children during her marriage decades earlier. The allegations were raised during her divorce proceedings. Her former spouse was awarded custody of the children.

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Chris England issued a show cause order against Martin who was a candidate for the office of Circuit Judge of Montgomery County (Place 3). The hearing was conducted under the Bylaws of the Alabama Democratic Party.

The ADP reports that evidence presented at the hearing showed that Martin provided incomplete, misleading, and false information to the Alabama Ethics Commission through her Statement of Economic Interests. As a result of information received by the Party after the primary election, Party Chair Rep. Chris England ordered Martin to show cause why her nomination should not be withdrawn.

“Our Bylaws have processes in place to protect the integrity of the Alabama Democratic Party,” England said. “This subcommittee represented a broad cross-section of the Party, including members of its diversity constituencies. The subcommittee worked according to the process established by the Bylaws and unanimously voted to withdraw Martin’s nomination for this office.

“Every candidate that seeks ballot access through the Alabama Democratic Party must comply with all mandatory disclosure requirements, including completing their Statement of Economic Interests. This requirement is especially important for judges and candidates for judicial offices because they are held to a higher ethical standard. Full and accurate disclosures ensure voters can confidently cast their ballot.” 

After viewing evidence, hearing witnesses, and arguments, the subcommittee unanimously voted to withdraw Martin’s nomination. The SDEC will select its nominee for Circuit Judge of Montgomery County (Place 3) at its organizational meeting in Birmingham on Aug. 13.

The committee wrote, “The principles of the Alabama Democratic Party include “[t]hat the people are entitled to honest and ethical government; that it is demanded of all public servants that they make complete, current, public disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest; ... and that they fairly make and administer the laws without fear or favor. It is the duty of all public servants to relentlessly support and enforce the highest ethical standards ... (SDEC Bylaws Art. I). Martin’s conduct bears directly on her fitness for the office she seeks. Candidates for judicial office should conduct themselves 'in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.' Ala. Canons of Judicial Ethics 2A; Ala. Canons of Judicial Ethics 1 (judges should “observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved”). Further, like judges, candidates for judicial office must 'avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.' Ala. Canons of Judicial Ethics 2B."

Since Martin’s primary victory, media reports have surfaced repeatedly detailing the allegations of past misconduct by Martin. Some of her children, now adults, have spoken to media outlets to substantiate the allegations levied against her.

This was a particularly troublesome allegation as this position was for a family law position where Martin would have been ruling on issues such as child custody including in relationships where allegations of abuse were made.

Martin has defended herself on social media, claiming that after years of abuse, her ex-husband promised he would destroy her if she left him.

While the ADP has seen its fortunes wane over the last two decades, Montgomery County remains a Democratic stronghold, so the Democratic-appointed nominee for this judgeship will almost certainly be elected on Nov. 8. Qualified Montgomery area attorneys interested in the appointment should contact the ADP for more information.

The ADP is holding its meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee in Birmingham on Aug. 13. The Alabama Republican Executive Committee is holding its annual Summer Meeting on the same day. The GOP however will be meeting at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery.

The Aug. 13 SDEC 2022 Organizational Meeting of the State Committee will be held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham. This organizational meeting will elect a new chair and officers to the State Committee, new at-large members, district vacancies, Diversity Caucuses, and the Executive Board. England is not seeking a second term as Chairman.

The ADP Diversity Caucus meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and the SDEC meeting will be called to order at noon. Credentialing and doors will open one hour before the meetings. A formal announcement, agenda, and meeting details will follow in the coming weeks. 

All 67 Alabama counties will be represented on the SDEC. Some of those SDEC openings will be filled at the Aug. meeting. Contact the ADP for more information.

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