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Case Name Gooden v. Hunter CJ-AL-0004
Docket / Court CV 05-5778 ( State Court )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On September 29, 2005, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. filed a lawsuit originally on behalf of Mr. Richard Gooden in Alabama state court against the Alabama Secretary of State and the Jefferson County Registrar, challenging the denial of Mr. Gooden's right to vote because of a ... read more >
On September 29, 2005, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. filed a lawsuit originally on behalf of Mr. Richard Gooden in Alabama state court against the Alabama Secretary of State and the Jefferson County Registrar, challenging the denial of Mr. Gooden's right to vote because of a felony DUI conviction. Gooden, a 64-year-old African-American citizen and a lifetime resident of Alabama, alleged that while Alabama's Constitution permitted people with felony convictions not involving moral turpitude to register to vote, the Secretary of State had instructed officials not to register such persons unless they received a "Certificate of Eligibility" from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Gooden challenged the practice and sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The same day, the NAACP filed a separate action in federal court, challenging the practice as violating Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. [Gooden v. Worley.

On November 18, 2005, the Alabama Attorney General, on behalf of the State of Alabama, moved to intervene in the case. The State confessed judgment on one of plaintiff's counts and acknowledged that Gooden's felony conviction - driving under the influence -- was not a crime involving moral turpitude, and, therefore, that he was not barred from registering and voting. The Jefferson County Registrar then agreed to register Gooden.

Defendants moved to dismiss the remaining claims for lack of standing and mootness.

On December 19, 2005, Gooden filed a first amended complaint, which named an additional plaintiff. The amended complaint also sought certification of a class of plaintiffs consisting of all "unregistered persons otherwise eligible to register to vote in Alabama who have been convicted of one or more felonies, but who have not been convicted of any felonies involving moral turpitude." It also sought certification of a defendant class consisting of all "voter registrars in the State of Alabama." The complaint was subsequently amended several times and more plaintiffs were added.

Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims, arguing that the case no longer presented a justiciable controversy in that all of the relief requested by the plaintiffs, namely their registration to vote, had been granted.

On August 23, 2006, the trial court entered a "class certification order and final order on all pending issues." The Court granted the attorney general's motion to intervene and entered a summary judgment for the defendants on several counts of the amended complaint. The trial judge certified a plaintiff class and a defendant class and granted the plaintiffs declaratory and equitable relief, ordering the state voter registrars to allow all felons who were otherwise qualified to vote to be permitted to vote until the enactment and gubernatorial approval of a statute which specifically named all disqualifying felonies. Defendants appealed.

On June 1, 2007 the Alabama Supreme Court (Justice Woodall) reversed in part the trial court's ruling that ordered the Secretary of State and Jefferson County registrar to immediately "cease and desist in refusing voter registration" to individuals on the basis of a felony conviction. The Supreme Court found that while state and local election officials had acted contrarily to the State Constitution and laws, no further injunctive relief was necessary under the circumstances. Chapman v. Gooden, 2007 WL 1576103 2007 Ala. LEXIS 98 (Ala. Jun 01, 2007) (NO. 1051712).

Dan Dalton - 11/27/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Alabama Secretary of State
Houston County Voter Registrars
Jefferson County Voter Registrar
Plaintiff Description Class of Alabamians with felony convictions not involving moral turpitude that are being illegally barred from voting.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing CJ-AL-0003 : Gooden v. Worley (N.D. Ala.)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Notice Letter] Re: Voter Registration for Felonies Not Involving Moral Turpitude
CJ-AL-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/2005
Source: Westlaw
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Temporary Restraining Order, Mandatory Injunction, and Writ of Mandamus
CJ-AL-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2005
CJ-AL-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2005
First Amended Complaint
CJ-AL-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2005
Fourth Amended Complaint
CJ-AL-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2006
Class Certification Order and Final Order on All Pending Issues
CJ-AL-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2006
CJ-AL-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/25/2006
[Opinion] (974 So.2d 972)
CJ-AL-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/01/2007
Source: State Court Website
Judges Bolin, Michael F (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Cobb, Sue Bell (State Supreme Court)
Lyons, Champ Jr (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Murdock, Glenn (State Supreme Court)
Parker, Tom (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
See, Harold Frend Jr (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Smith, Patricia M (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Stuart, Lyn (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Vance, Robert S. Jr. Court not on record
CJ-AL-0004-0004 | CJ-AL-0004-0005
Woodall, Thomas A. (State Supreme Court)
CJ-AL-0004-0007 | CJ-AL-0004-0008
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adegbile, Debo Patrick (New York)
CJ-AL-0004-0002 | CJ-AL-0004-0003 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Beverly, Alaina C. (New York)
Chachkin, Norman J. (New York)
CJ-AL-0004-0002 | CJ-AL-0004-0003 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Fleming, Margaret L. (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0004-0005 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Haygood, Ryan Paul (New York)
CJ-AL-0004-0001 | CJ-AL-0004-0002 | CJ-AL-0004-0003 | CJ-AL-0004-0005 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Sewell, Jeffrey M. (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0004-0005 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Shaw, Theodore M. (New York)
CJ-AL-0004-0002 | CJ-AL-0004-0003 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Still, Edward (District of Columbia)
CJ-AL-0004-0002 | CJ-AL-0004-0003 | CJ-AL-0004-0005 | CJ-AL-0004-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Fairbanks, Misty S (Alabama)
Lawson, Theodore A III (Alabama)

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