Alice Martin

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Alice Martin

Alice H. Martin (born c. 1955 in Sledge, Mississippi) is the acting Attorney General of Alabama. She served previously as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2001 to 2009 and worked as a senior partner at Wheless & Associates in Birmingham.

Martin earned her bachelor of science in nursing from Vanderbilt University and practiced as a registered nurse while attending law school classes at the University of Mississippi. She completed her juris doctorate in 1981 and practiced as a criminal defender for five years before transitioning into medical malpractice and product liability defense litigation. She then joined the U. S. Department of Justice as an assistant attorney general in Memphis, Tennessee, specializing in white-collar investigations and defense of the military, veteran's and prison hospital systems in malpractice cases. From there she was appointed to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of the United States and presided over criminal and civil jury trials. She ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship in Lauderdale County in 1997 and for a seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 2000. She was nominated become U. S. Attorney in September 2001 by President George W. Bush and sworn in on September 29.

Immediately upon taking office numerous long-term staffers were replaced. Many of those who remained with her complained of micromanagement and inflexibility. Others appreciated her tough, unrelenting style. During her time in the position she is most known for successfully prosecuting abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph and for winning convictions against numerous public officials in the region. In all, she and her staff handled over 16,000 criminal and civil cases while she was in office.

The North Alabama Public Corruption Task Force, which Martin created in 2002, has been credited with convicting 125 public officials and government contractors, including Alabama two-year college system chancellor Roy W. Johnson, State Senator E. B. McClain, and State Representative Bryant Melton. An investigation into Jefferson County's sewer system construction and the ensuing debt crisis led to 21 convictions for various bribery schemes. Among those convicted were former Jefferson County Commissioners Jeff Germany, Chris McNair and May Buckelew. Former Commission president and current Birmingham mayor Larry Langford was also indicted under her tenure, with trial set for Fall 2009.

After the retirement of Mike Rasmussen, Martin took the lead in the first prosecution based on the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate fraud legislation. Though she notably failed to get a conviction in the conspiracy case against HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy in 2005, she did see 15 corporate officers convicted and was selected as a "Top Ten Prosecutor" by the Corporate Fraud Reporter in 2004. Her office did win convictions against Scrushy along with former Governor Don Seigelman in 2006 for corruption related to Scrushy's appointment to the state's hospital certificate of need board.

Siegelman's 88-month prison sentence has been held up as an example of what some consider to be partisan conduct by the U. S. Attorney's office. Siegelman, a Democrat, was prosecuted for activities that many consider to be standard practice at all levels of government. Moreover he was singled out for prosecution despite testimony from Lanny Young of payments made to numerous high-profile Republican politicians who were never investigated for wrongdoing. Siegelman's conviction has been appealed. Nevertheless, Martin's office actually won convictions of one more Republican than Democratic official and she insists that only the crimes were a consideration in making cases.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has begun an investigation into the allegations of selective prosecution. They are also investigating a complaint against Martin from Axion Corp., a company she prosecuted for allegedly providing classified information about Blackhawk helicopters to a Chinese manufacturer. The case was dismissed after it was revealed that the information was never classified.

In addition to her work in Alabama, Martin has served on several federal committees. Martin submitted her resignation in June 2009 following the election of Barack Obama. Former assistant U. S. Attorney Joyce Vance was sworn in as her successor on August 27. She joined the Wheless firm on September 14 of that year.

After Governor Robert Bentley appointed Attorney General of Alabama Luther Strange to Jeff Sessions's vacant seat in the United States Senate on February 9, 2017, Martin was the state's acting Attorney General for one day before Bentley announced that Steve Marshall would serve the remainder of Strange's term in office.

Martin resides in Florence and has three daughters.

Preceded by:
Doug Jones
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
2001-2009
Succeeded by:
Joyce Vance
Preceded by:
Luther Strange
Attorney General of Alabama (acting)
February 9-10, 2017
Succeeded by:
Steve Marshall

References

  • Horton, Scott (March 9, 2008) "Alice Martin's War" Harper's Magazine
  • Weiss, Debra Cassens (July 15, 2008) "U.S. Attorney Martin Investigated by Ethics Watchdog for 2 Prosecutions." ABA Journal
  • Gordon, Robert K. (June 16, 2009) "U.S. Attorney Alice Martin of Birmingham announces resignation." The Birmingham News
  • Gordon, Robert K. (June 21, 2009) "Alice Martin made a name for herself as a hard-core prosecutor, difficult boss." The Birmingham News
  • Gordon, Robert K. (October 8, 2009) "Ex-Birmingham U.S. attorney Alice Martin joins Wheless search firm." The Birmingham News