JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

2 of 6 Candidates for Talladega Co. Circuit Judge Are JSU Grads

Excerpted from the Daily Home.

January 30, 2004 -- Two of six Talladega County lawyers vying to succeed former Circuit Judge Jerry Fielding, who retired after nearly 25 years on the bench, are Jacksonville State University graduates.

Barry D. Matson, who graduated from JSU in 1986, and Jonathan Lane Adams, who graduated in 1980, are among the field of candidates that include Bo Hollingsworth, Jake Montgomery, Dean McConatha and Wanda Batson.

The applicants will be interviewed on Friday, Feb. 6, by the Talladega County Judicial Commission.

-- Barry D. Matson is the chief deputy district attorney for Talladega County, and has worked as a prosecutor for more than 10 years. He wrote the grant and sought funding for the creation of the Talladega County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and serves as project director and prosecutor for the task force. He is also original incorporating officer of the Talladega County Domestic Violence Unit and the team chairman and prosecutor for the Talladega, Coosa and Clay County Child Advocacy Center, Palmer Place.

Raised in a family that operated a small business in Talladega, Matson graduated from Jacksonville State University in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and earned his law degree from the Birmingham School of Law in 1993. From 1990 to 1993, he worked as a law librarian and clerk for Sullivan and Fielding, and served research assistant to Sullivan in his capacity as chairman of the Alabama Pattern Jury Instruction Civil.

He is married to the former Amy Elizabeth Majors of Rainbow City, and they have two children. He is the current president of the Alabama Assistant District Attorneys Association past co-chairman of the Alabama Assistant District Attorneys Association and a member of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association; the Northern District of Alabama State and Federal Prosecutors Association; the association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation; the National and Alabama District Attorneys Associations; the American, Alabama and Talladega County Bar Associations; and the Fraternal Order of Police.

He is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Talladega and the Alabama Emmaus Community, where he serves on the board of directors of the Cheaha Cluster. He serves on the board of directors of the Wesley Foundation at Jacksonville State University and FIRST Family Services of East Central Alabama, and is the North Talladega County chairman of Boy Scouts of America. He has coached several youth athletic teams, and is a member of the steering committee of Habitat For Humanity of Talladega.

"If I had my first choice," Matson said, "Fielding would rescind his retirement. Given that that's not going to happen, it is important to the citizens that the person selected has the work ethic, compassion and ability to perform the job. I believe I do. As a clerk and law librarian for Sullivan and Fielding, and in trying cases in front of them and King, I feel I have been able to learn from the best. I would like to take that knowledge and compassion to the bench. We are fortunate to have such a strong group of applicants here, because I believe three good names will go to the governor, even if I am not one of them. We will be very lucky to find someone of Fielding's caliber."

-- Jonathan Lane Adams of Talladega graduated from Jacksonville State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in political science with a double minor in history and corrections. He earned his law degree from the Birmingham School of Law in 1985. He entered private practice in 1986 after serving for three years as Talladega County law librarian. He was appointed District Attorney for Talladega County in 1998, following the resignation of Robert Rumsey, then returned to private practice in January 1999.

He has also worked as a special city prosecutor in Talladega, Childersburg, Lineville and Jacksonville. He has been married to the former Wanda Galloway for 23 years. They have two children.

Adams is a member of the American, Alabama and Talladega County Bar Associations and a member of First Baptist Church of Talladega. An ordained deacon, he is also minister of music at Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

"I would like an opportunity to help the people of Talladega County, as I did once before when I was district attorney. I would like the chance to serve again, and draw on my experience in jury and non-jury trials and my work in the Talladega County Judicial system."

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