BEAR CREEK - Municipal court for the Town of Bear Creek has been hindered due to the lack of a judge, leading the Bear Creek Town Council to authorize a resolution naming former Winston/Marion District Attorney Jack Bostick as the town’s new judge.
Town Clerk Kay Wiginton read a letter from the town’s municipal court clerk Kesli Blankenship to council members during a recent meeting, stressing multiple issues the town has faced in the past due to lack of correspondence with Judge Fred Wood concerning a bond schedule and the town’s municipal court.
“There was never any animosity with Mr. Wood. He always did a wonderful job as a municipal judge,” Bear Creek Mayor Rob Taylor said. “Maybe his endeavors down that way (Wood has a law office in Hamilton) got him so busy that he didn’t have the time anymore.
“On behalf of the Town of Bear Creek, I would like to thank Mr. Wood for the years of service he gave Bear Creek,” Taylor noted.
Wood served as Bear Creek’s municipal judge for many years, with no exact record of his dates of service provided to the Alabamian as of press time..
The Town of Bear Creek did not have municipal court for awhile, but court was brought back under Connie Morrison’s administration as mayor.
Blankenship wrote in the letter on behalf of Bear Creek, that the town had multiple issues coordinating with Wood’s office.
“I was unable to make contact on multiple occasions between the dates of April 20 and May 13,” Blankenship submitted in the letter.
“I attempted to reach his office multiple times via phone each week,” she continued. “I spoke to his secretary numerous times requesting Judge Wood’s response to our need for a bond schedule. She advised each time she would remind him once again.”
The letter also stated that over the past two weeks, Blankenhip has left a voicemail at the judge’s office four times.
“We did not receive a call back until May 14, at 3 p.m., only four days before court, and it was only to confirm that (court) was still on,” Blankenship wrote.
“I asked why none of my multiple calls or voicemails were answered, and she advised Judge Wood said he coordinated with someone about the bond schedule,” the letter read.
The letter continued that the town made contact with Bostick, who agreed to be the new judge as long as it was approved by the town council.
Bostick served as district attorney for Marion and Winston counties from 2001-2016. Prior to that, he served nine years as deputy district attorney. He is currently in private practice in Winfield.
Now that a new judge has been selected and approved unanimously by the council, Bear Creek municipal court is being planned for the first Friday of each month.
This, Blankenship added, should hopefully encourage more payments being processed on court day due to the date being a payday for workers and a date when people receive benefit checks from the government.
Council member Alex Price made a motion to introduce Resolution 5-2021 to name Bostick as the new judge.
Taylor then read the resolution, which noted Bostick to be appointed as municipal judge for the Town of Bear Creek for a two-year term commencing with the new mayor and council, and to be effective May 17.
The resolution also authorized municipal court to be held in addition to any times or places as authorized by ordinance, that the municipal judge shall deem proper at the consent of the mayor and council.
Council Member Eric Loden made a motion to approve the ordinance, with James Weeks seconding the motion and all council members voting in favor.
The Alabamian attempted to contact Wood’s office in Hamilton via phone, but heard this message: “The number you have dialed is currently not in service or is having technical difficulties. Please try your call again later.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.