Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is seeking to reverse a Madison County judge’s decision to dismiss the state’s lawsuit against the Madison County Commission regarding the fine which was paid for unlawfully removing a Confederate statue from courthouse grounds.
In 2017, the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act was signed into law, which sought to protect historically significant monuments from being removed from public grounds. Last year, Marshall’s office filed suit against the Madison County Commission for violating the law after it paid the City of Huntsville $33,000 to relocate the longstanding statue to nearby Maple Hill Cemetery.
Marshall contended that the move violated the law which states, “No architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument which is located on public property and has been so situated for 40 or more years may be relocated, removed, altered, renamed, or otherwise disturbed.”
The Madison County Commission incurred a $25,000 fine for its relocation of the statue, which the state says was paid anonymously.
According to Huntsville’s WAAY 31, the state’s chief law enforcement officer is seeking to revive the lawsuit on the grounds that the fine must be paid by the defendant, not an anonymous third party. The outlet reports that Marshall wishes to ensure the county has paid the fine instead of an unidentified donor.
The attorney general’s motion to vacate the judge’s ruling states in part, “Before filing its Motion to Dismiss, Madison County never discussed with the State whether the State could accept funds anonymously paid into Court, or whether the State would agree that the case is moot. The State had no knowledge that Madison County was moving to dismiss.”
It further states, “Upon consideration of Madison County’s motion, the State determined that the matter cannot be resolved through this alleged anonymous payment, and on Monday, August 30, the State informed Madison County that it could not legally accept funds paid into court by an anonymous third party, but that it could only accept funds paid by Madison County or someone authorized to act on Madison County’s behalf. The State further informed Madison County that it would oppose the Motion to Dismiss.”
According to WAAY 31, a hearing concerning the matter will take place at the Madison County Courthouse on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL