Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey taps Graddick to head parole board
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday named former attorney general Charles Graddick as the new director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Ivey made the appointment under a new state law she sought that gives her the authority to appoint the director. Graddick will replace current director Eddie Cook in September.
Graddick is a former two-term Alabama attorney general and a former circuit judge in Mobile County. Ivey said in a statement that Graddick has dedicated his life to “serving the people of Alabama and protecting the law.”
“I am proud to have someone of Judge Graddick’s experience and caliber at the helm of this board,” the governor said in a statement. “Public safety is paramount.”
Graddick said his first goal is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the parole board’s operation and make necessary improvements.
“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 said.
As attorney general, Graddick clashed with board members in 1981 over the “irresponsible parole” of an inmate convicted of murders in Alabama and Georgia. Graddick threatened to sue the board after the inmate was paroled after nine years to go serve his sentence in Georgia. The board then reversed its decision.
In recent months, Ivey and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have openly criticized the state parole board. They successfully pushed legislation in the most recent legislative session to give the governor more control over the board by making the director a gubernatorial appointee.
Ivey’s office said Graddick will take over the position on Sept 1, the same day the new law takes effect.
During his political career, Graddick played a part in one of the most notable gubernatorial races in the state’s history.
Democratic party executives in 1986 threw out Graddick’s narrow win in the Democratic gubernatorial runoff against then-Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley after ruling GOP voters improperly crossed over to influence the election. Republican Guy Hunt won the general election that year.