Justice A. Kelli Wise, the daughter of Colonel Bobby W. Wise and the late Betty Mathis Wise, was born in Geneva, Alabama and raised in Dale and Autauga County.
Judge Wise, a graduate of Prattville High School, received a B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Nursing, from Auburn University in 1985 and a Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law in 1994. She earned a Master of Public Administration from Auburn University Montgomery in 2000 and was named the 2005 Outstanding Graduate by the AUM Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Recently, Justice Wise was named as one of AUM's Top 40 in 40 during the University's 40th Anniversary Celebration.
During her legal career, Justice Wise worked in the Governor's Legislative Office (James Administration), served as legal counsel for ProStaff HRM, Inc. and was associated with the law firms of John Taber & Associates and Pittman, Pittman, Carwie & Fuquay. Prior to her election to the bench, she served as a staff attorney on the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court. Justice Wise was first elected to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 2000 becoming the youngest woman elected to sit on an Alabama Appellate Court. She was re-elected to the court in 2006 and became Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2008. While on the bench Judge Wise has written and reviewed over 20,000 cases including key appellate decisions that ultimately helped to protect victims and strengthened Alabama's criminal laws. Justice Wise was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2010 where she received the highest vote of any contested statewide candidate.
Committed to helping at-risk children, Justice Wise was appointed by Governor Bob Riley to serve on the Alabama Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2003 and reappointed in 2006. She is involved in several civic, charitable and professional organizations including the Alabama State Bar Association, The Alabama Wildlife Federation, The Montgomery Symphony League and the Capital City Republican Women. Justice Wise currently serves on the Alabama Law Institute Criminal Code committee tasked with helping to re-write the Alabama Criminal Code, and the Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure. In addition, Justice Wise is active in the Montgomery Junior League and serves on the board of directors for the Family Sunshine Center, Distinguished Young Women of Alabama and Max Credit Union.
Judge Wise and her husband Arthur Ray, a former Montgomery County District Court Judge, are the proud parents of Hanah-Mathis, a fifth grader at St. James School. They are active members of St. James United Methodist Church.