At the bottom of the Alabama's court system is a trio of courts for district, municipal and probate cases. In the second level is Alabama Circuit Court of Appeals. Stepping up one rung brings a case to either the Court of Civil Appeals or Court of Criminal Appeals. And, the system of Alabama Court Appeals is capped by the Alabama County Supreme Court.
The Court Of Appeals of Alabama was established in 1911 and in 1969 the state Court of Appeals was broken into Alabama Court Criminal Appeals and Alabama Court Civil Appeals.
The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama is one of two appellate courts in the Alabama judicial system. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals is an elected five-judge panel. They are William Thompson (Presiding Judge), Craig Sorrell Pittman, Tommy Bryan, Terri Willingham Thomas and Terry Moore. The Court of Civil Appeals hears civil matters, including those related to domestic situations such as divorce, adoptions, child custody, etc. They will rule on cases appealed from certain state administrative agencies, such as worker's compensation.
The Civil Court of Appeal also has jurisdiction where the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000. The court has jurisdiction of all appeals from administrative agencies in which a judgment was rendered in the circuit court. The Court of Civil Appeals also exercises jurisdiction over appeals in workmen's compensation cases and domestic relations cases, including annulment, divorce, alimony, child support, adoption, and child custody cases.
The Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama hears all appeals of felony and misdemeanor cases, including violations of city ordinances and all post-conviction writs in criminal cases. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals hears appeals on cases that have been decided at the Court of Circuit Appeals (of which there are 40 in the state). The five elected judges that sit on the Court of Criminal Appeals hearing all criminal appeals including felony cases, convictions involving misdemeanors, violations of multiple ordinances, and juvenile cases are Alisa Kelli Wise (Presiding Judge), Samuel Henry Welch, Mary Becker Windom, J. Elizabeth Kellum and James Allen Main.
Alabama Court of Appeals Cases and Records
Alabama Court Appeals can be accessed by any interested and sanctioned parties online for little cost. Remote electronic access to the System for viewing purposes is limited to subscribers to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records ("PACER?) system. The Judicial Conference of the United States has ruled that a user fee will be charged for remotely accessing certain detailed case information, such as filed documents and docket sheets in civil and criminal cases, but excluding review of calendars and similar general information. Until further order, no one but an attorney of record may remotely view records in criminal cases. Public remote access will be limited to viewing docket sheets only.
An exception to the prohibition on public remote access to criminal case filings is possible in a high-profile criminal case where the demand for documents will impose extraordinary demands on the court's resources. The district court is authorized to provide Internet access to the documents filed in that case if all parties consent and the trial judge finds that such access is warranted.