|Jessica Medeiros Garrison, with Bill|
Pryor and Jeff Sessions
We know of at least one other such case, and it belongs to Jessica Medeiros Garrison, former campaign manager for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
In making her ruling last Friday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Anita Kelly more or less confirmed there never were any lawful grounds for sealing Fuller's divorce case from his first wife. Fuller now stands charged with beating his second wife in an Atlanta hotel room back in August, drawing widespread calls for his resignation or impeachment.
If there were no lawful grounds for sealing the Fuller divorce case, that almost certainly is the case with Jessica Medeiros Garrison's divorce from Lee Garrison, a Tuscaloosa insurance man and chair of the city's school board.
The Garrisons were divorced in October 2009, and records from a subsequent custody action involving their son have remained public. Records from the divorce case itself were sealed, at Jessica Garrison's request, and the Fuller case now stands as evidence that the Garrison case almost certainly should have remained a public record.
Jessica Garrison is not a federal judge, but she is a prominent player in Alabama Republican politics. In addition to her ties to Luther Strange, she works for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and holds a position with the corporate Balch and Bingham law firm of Birmingham. She also has worked for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor. She is president of something called the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which apparently is an extension of RAGA.
In his Facebook coverage of the Mark Fuller wife-beating case, attorney Donald Watkins has said Alabama is ruled by a white, Republican "oligarchy," whose members enjoy certain privileges that most citizens do not. One of the those privileges apparently involves the easy sealing of divorce files that might contain embarrassing or unpleasant information.
Mark Fuller clearly belongs to the oligarchy, and it appears Jessica Garrison holds a comfortable position there as well.
In 2012, a group of independent journalists (including me) moved the Montgomery circuit court to unseal the Fuller divorce file, and that request was denied. It wasn't until the mainstream al.com media conglomerate made a similar request last week that the court decided to pay attention and more or less follow the law.
If Mark Fuller's divorce file is fit for public consumption, surely the same applies to Jessica Medeiros Garrison. We challenge al.com to petition the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court and demand that the case be unsealed.
The Garrison divorce documents are public records, and they should be treated as such.