Alabama Appellate Courts

History of Court of Civil Appeals

In 1969, Governor Albert Brewer appointed three judges to serve on the newly created Court of Civil Appeals: Thomas Werth Thagard, who served as the first Presiding Judge of that court; L. Charles Wright; and Robert P. Bradley. On May 3, 1972, Presiding Judge Thagard retired and Judge Wright became Presiding Judge. Richard L. Holmes was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Presiding Judge Thagard’s retirement. Judge Holmes took office on May 18, 1972. Presiding Judge Wright retired effective January 20, 1987, and Judge Bradley became Presiding Judge effective on that date. Kenneth F. Ingram, formerly a circuit judge, was elected to the position left vacant by Presiding Judge Wright’s retirement, and his term began on January 20, 1987.

Presiding Judge Bradley retired on January 17, 1989, and he was succeeded as Presiding Judge by Judge Holmes. William E. Robertson, formerly a Talladega County district judge, was elected to the position left vacant by Presiding Judge Bradley’s retirement, and he assumed office on January 17, 1989. Presiding Judge Holmes retired on April 16, 1989, and Judge Ingram became Presiding Judge on that date. Robert J. Russell was appointed effective April 16, 1989, to fill the vacancy on the court created by Presiding Judge Holmes’s retirement. In the general election of 1990, Presiding Judge Ingram was elected to the seat on the Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Richard L. Jones: he resigned from the Court of Civil Appeals in January 1991 and became an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court on January 15, 1991. Charles A. Thigpen, formerly a circuit judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit, was elected to the court in 1990 and took office on January 15, 1991, succeeding Judge Russell, who had served on an interim appointment that expired on January 14, 1991. Judge Robertson became Presiding Judge on that date. Judge Russell was reappointed on January 15, 1991, by Governor Guy Hunt, this time to the vacancy created by Presiding Judge Ingram’s resignation.

In the general election of 1992, Sharon G. Yates was the first woman elected to serve on the Court of Civil Appeals. She assumed office on January 19, 1993, at the expiration of Judge Russell’s second appointed term. In 1993, the Alabama Legislature increased the number of judges on the court to five judges. See Act No. 93-346, Ala. Acts 1993. Roger M. Monroe, a former circuit judge for the 10th Judicial Circuit, and John Brantley Crawley, a former circuit judge for the 12th Judicial Circuit, were elected to fill those newly created judgeships in the 1994 general election; their terms began on January 17, 1995. William C. Thompson was elected to the court in the 1996 general election; he assumed office on January 21, 1997, at the expiration of Judge Thigpen’s term of office.

Upon Presiding Judge Robertson’s retirement, which became effective on January 16, 2001, Judge Yates became the first woman to serve as Presiding Judge of the Court of Civil Appeals. Glenn Murdock, who had been elected to Presiding Judge Robertson’s place on the court in the 2000 general election, assumed office on January 16, 2001. Craig S. Pittman was also elected to the court in the 2000 general election; he assumed office on January 16, 2001, at the expiration of Judge Monroe’s term of office. On January 16, 2005, Presiding Judge Yates’s term of office expired, and Judge Crawley became Presiding Judge on January 17, 2005. Tommy Elias Bryan, who had been elected to Presiding Judge Yates’s place on the court in the 2004 general election, assumed office on January 17, 2005.

Presiding Judge Crawley retired effective January 15, 2007, and Judge Thompson became Presiding Judge. In the 2006 general election, Judge Murdock was elected to the seat on the Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Robert Bernard Harwood, Jr.; Judge Murdock resigned from the Court of Civil Appeals in January 2007, and he became an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court on January 15, 2007. Also in the 2006 general election, Terri Willingham Thomas, a former judge for the Cullman District Court, and Terry A. Moore were elected to fill the vacancies caused by the departures of Judge Murdock and Presiding Judge Crawley, respectively; their terms began on January 15, 2007.

In the 2012 general election, Judge Bryan was elected to the seat on the Supreme Court being vacated by Justice Thomas A. Woodall; Judge Bryan resigned from the Court of Civil Appeals in January 2013, and he became an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court on January 15, 2013. Scott Donaldson, a former circuit judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit, was appointed to the court effective January 15, 2013, to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Judge Bryan. Judge Thomas was defeated in the primary election in June 2018; she left office effective January 15, 2019. Judge Pittman retired effective January 15, 2019. Christy O. Edwards and Chad A. Hanson were elected to the Court of Civil Appeals in the general election held in November 2018; they took office on January 15, 2019. In January 2021, Judge Donaldson retired at the expiration of his term of office; Matthew D. Fridy, a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives, was elected to fill the vacancy created by Judge Donaldson's retirement, and he assumed office on January 19, 2021.

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