Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced that she is appointing Judge Charles Graddick to serve as Director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
During the 2019 Regular Session, Governor Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall championed legislation aimed at reforming the Board of Pardons and Paroles. With this new law, the governor has the authority to appoint the director.
A two-term Alabama attorney general, Judge Graddick comes to the post with an extensive background in law and public service. He was first elected to office when he became Mobile’s youngest district attorney at the age of 28.
“From the start of his career, Judge Graddick dedicated his life to serving the people of Alabama and protecting the law. These are necessary qualities to lead Pardons and Paroles,” Governor Ivey said. “As our state’s top law enforcement official, he was a national leader in advocating for victims’ rights and in prosecuting crimes. I am proud to have someone of Judge Graddick’s experience and caliber at the helm of this board. Public safety is paramount.”
During Judge Graddick’s two terms as Alabama’s attorney general, he established the first statewide Victim’s Assistance Office. Judge Graddick also served as chairman of the Southern Association of Attorneys General. He served as Circuit Judge in Mobile County. Most recently, he served the city of Mobile as Senior Judicial Advisor and Director of Courts, where he has been responsible for a dramatic restructure and reform of the city’s justice system.
“The governor, attorney general and the public have made it clear that our Board of Pardons and Paroles must carry out their duties to ensure justice for victims and safety for all of our citizens. That means that we need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and make necessary improvements to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency,” Judge Graddick said. “I am honored to lead these efforts as Director. Serving in this capacity, I hope to leave Alabama a safer place to live and raise a family.”
Graddick earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama. Upon earning his law degree from Cumberland School of Law and being named most outstanding graduate, Graddick clerked for Alabama Supreme Court Justice Daniel T. McCall. He also served the country in the Army Reserve and Alabama National Guard. After 23 years of service, he retired as Major, Judge Advocate General.
Judge Graddick will replace Eddie Cook. The new law, HB380, goes into effect September 1, 2019. Judge Graddick’s appointment is effective September 1, 2019.
The parole board became a hot topic for Ivey after WAAY 31's investigation into the parole of Jimmy Spencer. The WAAY 31 I-Team uncovered a series of flaws in the parole system that led to a career criminal, Jimmy Spencer, being paroled even though documents show he was a violent man while in prison. He wasn't monitored after he was paroled.
Within six months of his release, Spencer was arrested on drug charges and had multiple run-ins with police, but his parole was never revoked. He was then arrested for murdering two elderly women and a seven-year-old in Guntersville almost one year ago.
Tommy James, lawyer for the victims' families, issued this statement Friday about the selection of Graddick: "Charlie Graddick will be an excellent Executive Director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. He has served this State as a District Attorney, as the Attorney General and as a Circuit Judge. Governor Ivey made a home run pick in appointing Judge Graddick to this post,” James said. “He is the perfect choice to implement the much needed changes that are being put in place as a result of the Jimmy Spencer tragedies. I am confident that Judge Graddick will ensure that justice is done on behalf of victims and their families.”