Brian Hamilton swears in as Franklin County circuit judge

Russellville lawyer Brian Paul Hamilton was sworn in as Franklin County circuit judge Sunday in a public ceremony, conducted by district judge Paula McDowell and held in the Franklin County Courthouse.

His selection fills the 34th circuit judge seat left vacant by Judge Terry Lee Dempsey’s passing Feb. 17.

Gov. Kay Ivey made Hamilton’s appointment effective as of a letter dated March 31. Prior to that, interim measures established during Dempsey’s illness included dividing his cases between McDowell and Judge Leslie Johnson, a retired circuit judge from Lauderdale County.

“Being named circuit judge is a monumental event for me,” explained Hamilton. “While I’m grateful to Gov. Ivey for this opportunity, I am mindful that the unfortunate passing of Judge Dempsey is what brings us here. We all miss him dearly.”

The ceremony included a moment of silence for Dempsey.

Hamilton expressed his intentions for the court. “I want to assure you that this court will be about the litigants, not the judge,” he said. “I have no agenda. I will uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

“All parties, whether they be individuals, businesses or governmental agencies will be treated equally and fairly, with dignity and respect,” Hamilton added. “Likewise, all attorneys that appear before the court will be treated the same, with impartiality. I will work diligently and deliberately to adjudicate cases as efficiently as possible.”

Hamilton was previously with McDowell, Beason and Hamilton in Russellville for 21 years. Danny McDowell said his firm’s loss means a gain for the citizens of Russellville. “He’s very smart and conscientious. He will not only apply the law but also use common sense in all his rulings.”

Hamilton is a 1993 graduate of Russellville High School. He earned an associate’s degree after two years of study at Northwest-Shoals Community College and continued to the University of North Alabama, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

He is a graduate of the Jones School of Law in Montgomery. While in law school, he clerked for Attorney General William Pryor during his third year. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson.

Hamilton and his wife, Amy Sibley Hamilton, also a graduate of Russellville and NW-SCC, have three boys – Tal, 17, Reed, 15, and Sam, 13. The family attends North Highlands Church of Christ.

Although he said he is looking forward to the new challenge, Hamilton said he also accepts the appointment with some sadness.

“While I am grateful and excited about the opportunity to serve the people of Franklin County,” Hamilton said, “this is a bittersweet occasion. Judge Dempsey was a good friend and an outstanding judge. As a community, we continue to honor and remember him.”