Tuscaloosa County District Attorney announces retirement

Tuscaloosa County District Attorney announces retirement

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Tommy Smith (Source: WBRC video) Tommy Smith (Source: WBRC video)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The District Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Tommy Smith, has announced he will be retiring. In a press release issued on Friday, Smith says the retirement takes effect Friday and he will assume the status of Supernumerary District Attorney as appointed by Governor Robert Bentley.

Smith will be sworn in to his supernumerary position on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Circuit Judge Brad Almond's Office. Former Assistant District Attorney Lyn Head will be sworn in as the new Tuscaloosa County District Attorney at 3 p.m. by Judge Almond. Head was appointed to serve the remainder of Smith's time by Governor Bentley. Smith tells Fox6 reporter Kelvin Reynolds he "couldn't be happier for her."

In his new position, Smith will take on special cases or prosecutions when called upon by the Governor or the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Smith does not give any major reason for the retirement. He just says the time for retirement had come.

"It's the right time," said Smith. "I started this 40 years ago."

Smith was first elected as District Attorney in November of 1998 and took office in January of 1999. He won reelection in 2004 and 2010. Before that time, he worked as an assistant DA since 1974.

Here is Smith's statement on his retirement in full:

I am announcing my retirement from the office of District Attorney for the Sixth judicial Circuit, Tuscaloosa County, effective November 1, 2013.  Under Alabama law, I am assuming the status of Supernumerary District Attorney as appointed by Governor Robert Bentley.

I was first elected District Attorney in November, 1998, and took office in January, 1999.  I have since won reelection in 2004 and again in 2010.  Prior to my election, I served as an assistant district attorney under Charley Freeman, Sam Russell, Wayne Williams and Lou Lackey, from 1974 until 1998.  Prior to that I first started in the Tuscaloosa office as a law clerk in February, 1973, over 40 years ago.  During my tenure, I have served on the Executive Board of the Alabama District Attorneys Association and was elected by the district attorneys of Alabama to serve as President of the Association in 2010.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Tuscaloosa County.  While I have been the District Attorney, we have partnered with many other agencies and entities to treat drug addictions and reduce recidivism.  I am very proud of the great strides forward that have been made.

We have partnered with the Tuscaloosa City School System, Tuscaloosa County School System, the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department to create the HELP and IMPACT programs.  Those programs are designed to create intervention with at risk children and their families, who have been suspended from school.  The goal is to address the issues that are causing the children to act out and get suspended.  We know that if those issues are not addressed these children are far more likely to drop out of school and commit crimes.  Both programs are very successful and the students who complete the programs do better in school with better graduation rates than those students who have been suspended but do not complete the programs.

We have worked with the courts, local attorneys and treatment professionals to create the CLEAN pretrial diversion program which is designed to work with nonviolent drug and first offender type defendants who have criminal cases.  The CLEAN program is an expansion of the original Drug Court which was created while Charley Freeman was the District Attorney.  The Drug Court would not have been created without the commitment and leadership of Charley Freeman.  CLEAN has been very successful in that the graduates are far less likely to commit other crimes than defendants who do not go through the program and are better able to kick their drug addictions and lead productive successful lives.

Our Child Support Unit under Executive Director Mary Lewis has worked tirelessly for the benefit of children and their parents to enforce court ordered support and also to work with parents to help them be better able to work and meet their obligations.  The unit has collected well over $100,000,000 for the benefit of Tuscaloosa County's children during my tenure by establishing relationships with other community agencies to promote better parenting practices and a keener focus on fatherhood, both of which are vital to a successful child support program.  In addition to her accomplishments for Tuscaloosa County, Mrs. Lewis has been a leader for the entire state and has served the state as the President of the Alabama Child Support Association and is currently on the association's Board of Directors.

Our Special Services Division  includes both the Worthless Check Unit and the Restitution Recovery Unit.  Brian Barnett is the Executive Director of the Division and has worked hard to enforce court ordered restitution owed to victims and court costs from defendants which are delinquent.  He has been recognized statewide for his expertise and excellence and the policies and procedures he has implemented have been used as models for the state.

I am also proud to have been able to increase the number of Victim Service Officers who serve the public.  They are the liaisons between the office and the victims and witness in the cases we are prosecuting.  They provide professional assistance to victims and work directly with victims to help them while their cases are being handled.  They provide vital services such as helping to get restitution orders and coordinating court appearances. 

Finally, but certainly not least, I want to make sure and say what an honor it has been for me to serve with all the men and women on staff. They are all true public servants who are dedicated to the profession and to serving the people of Tuscaloosa County.  The trial and juvenile divisions of the office successfully handle several thousand cases every year of every type, including homicides, child victim crimes, white collar crimes, and traffic tickets.  They work tirelessly under trying circumstances and I will always appreciate them. 

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