Blount County Circuit Judge Steven D. King has been suspended from the bench over allegations he violated the canons of judicial ethics.
On Tuesday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (AJIC) filed a complaint against King, alleging he criticized two Blount County commissioners and a Warrior police officer in an anonymous letter stating they were "unfit for public office."
The complaint said King included the letter in a package of other documents and recordings that he had a lawyer mail out to several local media outlets. He also reportedly mailed one to himself, which he tried to use as grounds to have one of the county commissioners resign.
The complaint clarified that the violations were not about the content of the anonymous letter or recordings, which they said included inappropriate conversations between council members, but rather King's actions in drafting and distributing the materials.
The AJIC charged King with violating the canons of judicial ethics related to upholding the integrity and impartiality of the bench and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.
"Judge King's actions in authoring the letter anonymously and having an attorney, who regularly appears before him in Blount County Circuit Court, mail the packages for him, rather than mailing them himself, demonstrate that Judge King knew that this conduct constituted impropriety, or created the appeared thereof, and was inappropriate for one who holds judicial office," the complaint stated.
Having served since 2007, King had already planned to leave the bench in January 2023.
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