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Blount County judge suspended for alleged ethics violations

A Blount County Circuit judge has been suspended for an alleged violation of judicial ethics.

The violation occurred in 2020, when Judge Steven D. King allegedly mailed anonymous letters along with recordings and case filings to various news sources with information about the behavior of local officials. The suspension comes after the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed a complaint against the judge.

According to the official complaint, King had an attorney mail the letters to news outlets and elected officials. In the letters, he questioned if a police officer and two county commissioners were fit for office. Two of the packages contained documents relating to civil cases involving a commissioner and a police officer that alleged the commissioner and the officer fraudulently acquired property and money from an individual.

Upon the letters and packages being mailed, King sent a letter to a Blount County probate judge demanding the commissioner resign, based upon the recordings that King had mailed out.

King has had a strained relationship with the county commission due to disputes over funding.

In 2019, he sued the commissioner, whose resignation he would later try to force, for defamation. Specifically, the commissioner said King was, “trying to operate as a county commissioner from the bench of the circuit judge” and that he was no longer doing his job as a circuit judge. The case was dismissed later that year.

The case will now go to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, which has the power to sanction judges or remove them from the bench if it is ruled that they violated judicial standards.

King is not seeking re-election.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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