Alabama Appellate Courts

History of Court of Criminal Appeals

In 1969, the three judges formerly on the Court of Appeals became the first judges on the newly created Court of Criminal Appeals: Judge Annie Lola Price, Presiding Judge; Judge Aubrey M. Cates, Jr.; and Judge Reneau P. Almon.

The Alabama Legislature in 1971 increased the number of judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals from three judges to five judges. In January 1972, Governor George Wallace appointed John C. Tyson III and John O. Harris to those newly created positions.

Presiding Judge Price died on June 18, 1972. Governor Wallace appointed John Paul DeCarlo to fill the position on the court left vacant by Presiding Judge Price’s death, and he took office on July 7, 1972. Judge Cates succeeded Presiding Judge Price as Presiding Judge on June 19, 1972.

In 1974, Judge Almon was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, and he resigned from the Court of Criminal Appeals on January 20, 1975. John G. Bookout was appointed to succeed Judge Almon. On December 1, 1976, Judge Tyson succeeded Presiding Judge Cates as Presiding Judge. Judge Cates continued to serve as a judge on the court until he retired on January 17, 1977. William M. Bowen, Jr., who had been elected to the court, replaced Judge Cates on January 18, 1977. At the time he was sworn in, Judge Bowen was 29 years old and was the youngest appellate judge in the country. On December 1, 1977, Judge Harris succeeded Presiding Judge Tyson as Presiding Judge, although Judge Tyson remained on the court.

Judge Bookout resigned from the court on February 1, 1982, and Bishop Barron was appointed to succeed him, effective March 12, 1982. On March 9, 1983, Judge Barron died. Sam W. Taylor, who had been a circuit judge in Montgomery County, was appointed on March 18, 1983, to succeed Judge Barron. On February 1, 1983, Judge DeCarlo became Presiding Judge, succeeding Judge Harris, who continued serving on the court, and Judge DeCarlo remained Presiding Judge until he resigned from the court on March 29, 1983. Hubert Taylor was appointed on March 31, 1983, to succeed Presiding Judge DeCarlo on the court, and Judge Bowen became Presiding Judge, effective April 18, 1983. Judge Hubert Taylor resigned on April 2, 1984, and John Patterson, former Governor of Alabama, was appointed on April 3, 1984, to succeed him. On January 14, 1985, Judge Harris retired. H. Ward McMillan, Jr., who had been elected in 1984, succeeded Judge Harris, taking office on January 15, 1985. Judge Sam Taylor became Presiding Judge in 1988, with Judge Bowen remaining on the court, and on November 16, 1990, Judge Patterson became Presiding Judge, with Judge Sam Taylor remaining on the court. Judge Tyson retired on October 1, 1991, and Mark G. Montiel was appointed to succeed him on November 29, 1991. On November 18, 1992, Judge Bowen again became Presiding Judge, and Judge Patterson continued to serve on the court. Presiding Judge Bowen’s term expired on January 16, 1995, and he retired effective January 17, 1995. Judge Sam Taylor again became Presiding Judge on January 18, 1995. Judge Montiel’s term expired on January 16, 1995. Sue Bell Cobb and Francis A. Long, Sr., were elected in November 1994 and began serving their terms on the court on January 17, 1995. Presiding Judge Sam Taylor retired effective January 21, 1997, and Judge Long became the Presiding Judge. Judge Patterson retired effective January 21, 1997. Jean Williams Brown and Pamela Willis Baschab were elected in November 1996 to fill the seats vacated by the retirements of Judge Patterson and Presiding Judge Sam Taylor. Their terms began on January 21, 1997. Judge Brown resigned effective January 19, 1999, to become an Associate Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court. James H. Fry was appointed on February 15, 1999, to fill her vacant position.

Presiding Judge Long’s term expired on January 15, 2001, and Judge McMillan became Presiding Judge on January 16, 2001. Judge Fry’s term also expired January 15, 2001. Greg Shaw and A. Kelli Wise were elected in November 2000 to begin terms on January 16, 2001. Judge Cobb resigned on January 15, 2007, following her election to the position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Samuel Henry Welch was elected to fill Judge Cobb’s vacant position, and he began his term January 15, 2007. Also on January 15, 2007, Judge Baschab became Presiding Judge, and Judge McMillan continued to serve on the court. Presiding Judge Baschab retired effective January 20, 2009, and Judge Wise became Presiding Judge of the court. Judge McMillan also retired effective January 20, 2009. Mary Becker Windom and J. Elizabeth Kellum were elected in November 2008 to terms beginning January 20, 2009. Judge Shaw resigned effective January 20, 2009, to become an Associate Justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, and James Allen Main was appointed on May 15, 2009, to replace Judge Shaw. Judge Main resigned effective January 14, 2011, to accept an appointment as an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and Presiding Judge Wise resigned effective January 17, 2011, to become an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Judge Welch became Presiding Judge on January 18, 2011, and Liles C. Burke was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Presiding Judge Wise’s resignation. He took the oath of office on February 18, 2011. J. Michael Joiner was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Judge Main’s resignation. He took the oath of office on March 1, 2011. Judge Windom became Presiding Judge on February 1, 2012, with Judge Welch remaining on the court. Judge Burke left the court on October 17, 2018, to accept an appointment as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama. J. Chris McCool, who was elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals in the general election held on November 6, 2018, was sworn in early, in November 2018, to fill the seat left vacant by Judge Burke’s federal appointment. Judge Welch and Judge Joiner retired effective January 15, 2019. Richard J. Minor and J. William Cole were elected in November 2018 and took office in January 2019.

Contact Information


Supreme Court of Alabama
334.229.0700
Court of Civil Appeals
334.229.0733
Court of Criminal Appeals
334.229.0751
State Law Library
334.229.0578