Todd grew up in Birmingham. She completed dual bachelor of arts degrees at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana in international business and Japanese studies. After graduating she taught English for the public school system in Takahagi, Ibaraki, Japan. She then took a job as an interpreter and human resources/executive assistant for Topre America, an auto parts manufacturer.
Todd left to study at the University of Alabama School of Law, with some time abroad at the Australian National University College of Law. She also completed a Master of Laws at Duke University School of Law in 2018. Her thesis, "Mass Incarceration: The Obstruction of Judges," was selected for publication in the school's law journal.
After joining the Alabama State Bar, Todd was hired as a deputy district attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, serving as a lead prosecutor on felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile criminal cases. From there she was appointed by the Birmingham City Council to serve as a special judge for the Birmingham Municipal Court. In 2014 she joined the faculty of the Reno, Nevada-based National Judicial College. She also co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is a member of the Criminal Justice Standards Committee, for the American Bar Association.
Todd ran for a seat on the Circuit Court in 2012, and defeated Republican Bill Cole. She was unopposed for re-election in the 2018 election. She married Chicago businessman Wesley Coleman in August 2014.
In March 2016 Todd ruled that Alabama's capital sentencing scheme violated the United States Constitution, basing her decision on the similarity of Alabama's scheme and Florida's, which had been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida. Her jurisdiction limited the application of the decision to the case before her, unless other judges were to affirm the decision independently. Attorney General of Alabama Luther Strange appealed the decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, which overruled Todd and ordered her to recuse herself from capital murder cases based on the incompatibility of her prior decisions with the interpretation of the Supreme Court of Alabama. The Attorney General had also sought a finding of contempt against Todd, but that motion was denied and the question referred to the state's Judicial Inquiry Commission.
In 2021 the Commission returned a more than 100-page report detailing multiple allegations of "abuse of judicial power" and "abandonment of the judicial role of detachment and neutrality", mostly centered around death penalty arguments, between 2014 and 2018. She was suspended with pay from the bench. On December 3 the Alabama Court of the Judiciary found Todd guilty of violating the canons of judicial ethics. She was allowed to return to the bench, but required to surrender 90 days of pay as well as to reimburse the cost of the proceedings.
The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission lodged new complaints against Todd in March 2022, including an allegation that rather than return as ordered, she remained in Chicago until February. In addition to failing to follow an order from a supervisory court, she was also cited for making false and misleading statements to fellow judges and to the COJ, for failing to make provisions for her cases during times she said she was ill, and for disrespecting and refusing to cooperate with other judges in performance of their shared administrative duties. She was again automatically suspended from presiding over cases until the Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled on the complaints. The court dismissed the last of the four charges during a hearing in August.
Todd resigned from the court in December 2023.
- Todd, Tracie A. (2019) "Mass Incarceration: The Obstruction of Judges" Law and Contemporary Problems Journal Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 191–215
- Todd-Coleman, Tracie (2019) Bench Book and Practitioner Guide., self-published e-book
- Todd, Tracie A. (2020) "U.S. Courts Unified in Spirit: State Criminal Courts Respond to Covid-19." Juriste International. Union Internationale des Avocats, pp. 28-30
- Mann, Leslie (March 23, 2014) "Courtside connection scores" Chicago Tribune
- Faulk, Kent (March 3, 2016) "JeffCo judge: Alabama death penalty sentence scheme unconstitutional." The Birmingham News
- Hrynkiw, Ivana (October 18, 2018) "Appeals court orders review of Jefferson County judge." The Birmingham News
- Watkins, Donald V. (December 1, 2018) "The Politics of Death: The Story of Judge Tracie A. Todd". DonaldWatkins.com
- Robinson, Carol (April 9, 2021) "Jefferson County judge suspended after scathing abuse of power allegations." The Birmingham News
- Cason, Mike (December 3, 2021) "Jefferson County Judge Tracie Todd suspended without pay for ethics violations." The Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (March 17, 2022) "Judge Tracie Todd, suspended for ethics violations in death penalty cases, removed from bench again." The Birmingham News
- Cason, Mike (August 16, 2022) "Suspended Alabama judge stayed in Chicago 2 months after order to return to work." The Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (November 28, 2023) "Twice suspended Jefferson County Judge Tracie Todd resigns." AL.com
- Tracie A. Todd at ballotpedia.org