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Joseph S. Johnston

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Joseph S. Johnston is a circuit judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit in State of Alabama. Appointed by Governor Fob James in April, 1997, Johnston became the first Republican to hold a circuit or district judgeship in Mobile County. He was elected without opposition in 1998, 2000 and 2006.


A native and lifelong resident of Mobile, born on March 15, 1959. Attended both public and private schools in Mobile, graduating from University Military School (now UMS-Wright Preparatory School) in 1977. Rusty received B.A. in history from the University of Alabama in 1981. Received J.D. in 1984 from the University of Alabama School of Law. While attending the University of Alabama Johnston served as the Reagan for President Committee Chairman (1979–1980), the University of Alabama College Republican Chairman (1980–1981) and the Alabama State College Republican Federation Chairman (1982–1983). While attending law school, he founded a chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy. That chapter exists today.

Private law practice[edit]

During his years in private practice, Johnston was admitted to practice before the Alabama Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Notable cases[edit]

  • Roe vs. Alabama, 68 F.3d 404 (11th Cir.1995) Johnston served as co-counsel for Judge Perry O. Hooper, the Republican nominee for Alabama Chief Justice. Hooper won the election by several hundred votes, but after the election there was an attempt to count unwitnessed absentee ballots. Johnston and co-counsel were successful in getting a U.S. District Court to stop the counting and further had this practice declared unlawful. This is one of the main case, cited for the proposition "you can't change the rules after the election is over".
  • State of Alabama vs. Leonardo Carson CC-02-03-4216, CC-02-03-7054. Dallas Cowboys Defensive Lineman,Leonardo Carson, was charged in 2003 with First Degree Burglary and Second Degree Kidnapping, both serious offenses in Alabama (and probably the rest of the civilized world). The case was specially prosecuted by Baldwin County District Attorney, David Whetstone. Johnston confirmed a plea bargain between Whetstone and Carson's attorney which resulted in felony charges being dropped and Carson pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. Carson agreed to a 30-day sentence. If convicted of the two felonies, Carson could have been sentenced to a life sentence plus twenty years. Johnston was criticized in the media for a sentence which seemed to give Carson, a former local football hero, a lesser sentence than the average defendant. see http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1822463


Johnston was also a member of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association and American Bond Lawyers Association during his years in private practice. He was appointed by Governor Guy Hunt in 1988 to serve on the Alabama State Tenure Commission, which heard appeals from dismissed tenured public school teachers. He served in this position over four years hearing over 1,000 cases during his term of office. He was also appointed by Governor Hunt to the USS Alabama Battleship Commission, where he served from 1992–1999 and was Chairman from 1998 to 1999. Johnston was appointed by Governor Fob James in 1995 to the Certificate of Need Review Board of the State Health Planning & Development Agency, which licenses new hospital and nursing home beds as well as new medical equipment. He was appointed by Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper to the Committee on Sentencing, Unified Judicial System Study Commission. This commission recommended the establishment of sentencing standards and "truth in sentencing". Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper appointed Johnston as Chairman of the Administrative Office of Courts Form Committee 1998–2005, which had the responsibility of reviewing and redrafting hundreds of official forms which the court system uses.

In 2001, in response to a statewide revenue shortage in the court system, Chief Justice Roy Moore appointed Johnston Chairman of the Court Cost Enforcement Committee. This committee recommended over two dozen ways that court costs, fines and restitution could be better collected.

Johnston was a longtime member of the Mobile County and Alabama Republican Executive Committees. He served as Chairman of the Mobile County Republican Party from 1986 to 1990 and Vice-Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party from 1995 to 1997. Additionally, he was elected a delegate to and attended the 1996 Republican National Convention, pledged to Pat Buchanan.

Johnston is a member of the Mobile, Alabama and American Bar Associations, the Alabama Circuit Judges Association, American Judicature Society, and Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and the American and Mobile Inns of Court from 1998–present.

In addition to a lifelong study of law and politics, Johnston is an avid amateur astronomer and is a member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Johnston is an active shooter and is dedicated to preserving the shooting and firearms heritage of the United States. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation. Johnston is also the active manager of a family limited liability company that owns approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of timberland in Mississippi and is involved in forestry and ecology issues in the State of Mississippi.

Johnston is married and the father of two children. He and his family are active members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. He is involved in juvenile diabetes support issues and is a dedicated long-distance bike rider, having recently completed a 58-mile (93 km) bike trip in a little less than five hours.

In 2007, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Harold See announced he would not seek re-election. Johnston was the subject of much media speculation throughout the state of considering a statewide campaign to succeed Justice See. Johnston has denied interest in seeking this position in statewide media reports.

Judge Johnston is a contributor to legal education programs in Alabama and the Mobile Metropolitan area. Below is a partial list of programs presented in recent years:

  • Electronic Discovery Issues in Circuit Court. Mobile-Baldwin County Bench and Bar Conference: Return to the Grand! December 1–2, 2006.
  • Trial Court Considerations Under The Youthful Offender Act. Mobile Bar Association, March 16, 2007.
  • Mediation: What Judges Want And Don't Want. Mobile Bar Association" September 2007.
  • Do's and Don'ts in the Trial: Keeping Control over Feisty Lawyers. Mobile Bar Association, October 12, 2007.
  • Document Authentication and Proving Damages: Legal Practices and Procedures that You Need to Know. Mobile Bar Association C.L.E. May 20, 2005.
  • Trying the Non-Jury Case. Mobile Bar Association C.L.E. October 17, 2003
  • Comprehensive Approach To Sex Offender Management: The Mobile Example. Porter Brock Inns Of Court, May 22, 2003.
  • Do's and Don'ts as Seen from the Bench. Mobile Bar Association November 1, 2002
  • The Non-Unanimous Jury Verdict. Porter Brock Inns Of Court April, 2001
  • The "Right to Die" under Alabama Law. Porter Brock Inns Of Court April 2004.
  • Collecting Court Cost. Alabama Circuit and District Judges Annual Conference, Summer, 2001.
  • Do's and Don'ts as Seen from the Bench. Mobile Bar Association September 21, 2001.
  • Court Security Issues. Alabama Municipal Clerks Association Annual Conference, Perdido Beach Resort, September, 2004


  • Book regarding 1994–1995 Supreme Court election dispute and voting fraud in Alabama, Johnson, Winthrop Courting Votes in Alabama, Prescott Press, Inc. 1999 0933451415
  • A history of the U.S.S. Alabama and Battleship Memorial Park, U.S.S. Alabama Veterans Association, Battleship U.S.S. Alabama, BB60 Golden Anniversary History, Turner Publishing Co., ISBN 1-56311-063-6 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  • Controversial article concerning the tenure of Judge Ferrell McRae and the death penalth. Silverstein, Ken The Judge As A Lynch Mob, The American Prospect, May 6, 2001
  • Book regarding crimes of professional sports players. Kolbe,Garret L. Spoiled Sports: Comical and Disturbing Stories of the 21st century Andrews McMeel Publishing Co. 2006 see chapter 21 LEONARDO CARSON
  • LEONARDO CARSON http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1822463

External links[edit]

This article "Joseph S. Johnston" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Joseph S. Johnston. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

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