Ivey appoints Graddick to lead reformed Pardons and Paroles — ‘Public safety is paramount’
Governor Kay Ivey on Friday announced that she is appointing Judge Charles “Charlie” Graddick, a longtime fixture in Alabama’s judicial system, to serve as director of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
During the Alabama legislature’s 2019 regular session, Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall successfully championed legislation sponsored by State Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) and Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) aimed at reforming the “badly broken” Board of Pardons and Paroles.
With this new law, the governor will gain the authority to appoint the director effective September 1, which she is exercising in selecting Graddick.
A two-term Alabama attorney general, Graddick comes to the post with an extensive background in law and public service. He was first elected to office when he became Mobile’s youngest district attorney at the age of 28.
“From the start of his career, Judge Graddick dedicated his life to serving the people of Alabama and protecting the law. These are necessary qualities to lead Pardons and Paroles,” Ivey said in a statement.
Graddick served as the 42nd attorney general of Alabama from 1979-1987.
“As our state’s top law enforcement official, he was a national leader in advocating for victims’ rights and in prosecuting crimes. I am proud to have someone of Judge Graddick’s experience and caliber at the helm of this board. Public safety is paramount,” Ivey emphasized.
During Graddick’s two terms as attorney general, he established the first statewide Victim’s Assistance Office. He also served as chairman of the Southern Association of Attorneys General and has served as circuit judge in Mobile County.
Most recently, Graddick served the city of Mobile as senior judicial advisor and director of courts, where he has been responsible for a dramatic restructure and reform of the city’s justice system.
“The governor, attorney general and the public have made it clear that our Board of Pardons and Paroles must carry out their duties to ensure justice for victims and safety for all of our citizens. That means that we need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and make necessary improvements to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency,” Graddick said. “I am honored to lead these efforts as Director. Serving in this capacity, I hope to leave Alabama a safer place to live and raise a family.”
Graddick earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama. Upon earning his law degree from Cumberland School of Law and being named most outstanding graduate, Graddick clerked for Alabama Supreme Court Justice Daniel T. McCall. He also served our nation in the Army Reserve and Alabama National Guard. After 23 years of service, he retired as Major, Judge Advocate General.
A longtime Democrat, Graddick won the party’s 1986 gubernatorial primary runoff against then-Lt. Governor Bill Baxley, only to be disqualified by the state Democratic Party. This led to Guy Hunt becoming the first Alabama Republican governor since Reconstruction. Graddick switched to the Republican Party in 2011, ahead of him losing to Roy Moore in the 2012 GOP primary for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Graddick will replace current Board of Pardons and Paroles Director Eddie Cook.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Marshall said, “I am proud of the work that we did to make it possible for the Governor to now have direct control over the operations of the Pardons and Paroles agency. We wish Mr. Graddick the best in his new role.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn