Of course, you could scoop a dead armadillo off the highway, prop it in a chair, give it an office in downtown Birmingham, and have an improvement on Alice Martin.
But is Vance what the citizens of her district need to really see that justice is served--after eight years of having the office used as a political weapon? I have my doubts.
A tidbit from a recent article in The Birmingham News shines light on one of my concerns:
The Justice Department also said Vance would not participate in any matter involving the state court system without prior approval because of her husband's job as a circuit judge in Jefferson County.
Not only is Robert Vance Jr. a judge, he's a bad judge. (And for the record, he's a Democrat, appointed by Don Siegelman.) I know Robert Vance Jr. is corrupt because I've seen it with my own eyes and presented the details in a recent post:
Is Joyce White Vance going to take a serious look at the corruption that permeates the courthouses and law firms in her district? I doubt it.
It's particularly unlikely when you consider that Robert Vance Jr. is one sorry excuse for a judge. I know because I've seen him operate in an up-close way. And he's a Democrat, by the way.
Vance was assigned to a legal-malpractice claim I filed against the first attorneys I hired to defend me against a bogus lawsuit from my criminally inclined neighbor. The attorneys were Jesse P. Evans III and Michael B. Odom, and at the time, they were with the Birmingham firm of Adams & Reese/Lange Simpson. They since have shuffled on over to Haskell & Slaughter.
To put it in a short and not-so-sweet way, Robert Vance Jr. screwed me to the wall. He dismissed my lawsuit when, by law, it could not be dismissed. I will go into details in a future post, but it's elemental stuff. Anyone who knows a thing about Rule 12(b)(6) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, and checked the public file, would readily see how Vance cheated me. (By the way, I'm pretty sure that Rule 12(b)(6) is standard in all jurisdictions, federal and state. It deals with motions to dismiss, which are supposed to be granted only in rare circumstances, none of which existed in my case.)
Why did Robert Vance Jr. cheat me? Here are two reasons I can think of:
* I represented myself, and judges routinely treat pro se litigants with disdain;
* Vance wanted to ensure that his lawyer cronies, Evans and Odom, did not have to testify under oath in depositions about how, and why, they cheated one of their clients--after billing me for roughly $12,000.
What else do we know about Joyce White Vance:
* Before becoming a federal prosecutor, she worked for one of Birmingham's "main line" law firms--Bradley Arant Rose & White;
* She lives in the Birmingham area's premier "over the mountain" kingdom--Mountain Brook;
* She is inextricably tied to Birmingham's legal establishment--and probably the corporate establishment, as well.
Here is one of the many problems that have persisted in the Northern District for at least the past eight years: In Alice Martin World, corruption involved only politicians--almost always Democrats, often folks of color. The corrupt politicians tended to be folks like the mayor of Birmingham (which is majority black), members of the Jefferson County Commission (based in majority-black Birmingham), and state legislators from Birmingham's western suburbs (which are heavily black).
When's the last time you heard about a federal investigation of a public official from one of Birmingham's eastern and southern (heavily white) suburbs? When's the last time you heard about a federal investigation in affluent and heavily white Shelby County--of a county commissioner, sheriff, judge, dog catcher?
I can't recall such a case. But consider this: My experience has been that corruption is most likely when, and where, big bucks are present. And big bucks tend to be present with suburban development--shopping centers, office parks, residential communities.
Where is most of that development taking place in metro Birmingham? In Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Trussville, Northy Shelby. Are we to believe that no palms ever get greased--that no bribes are taken, no fraud committed--when huge dollars change hands in Birmingham's suburbs?
Would The Birmingham News trumpet the need for public-corruption investigations if those inquiries focused on the heavily white suburbs? I doubt it.
How many of Birmingham's main-line law firms are involved in developments that spring up on the city's perimeter? Do those law firms ever engage in wink-wink deals that betray the public trust and probably violate federal law?
My guess is that the answer is yes?
Is Joyce White Vance the kind of U.S. attorney who will look into that kind of activity? Will she look beyond alleged political corruption and take a hard look at courthouses, law firms, and corporate suites? Will she take a hard look at our area's largest employer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where President Carol Garrison is running a once-proud institution into the ground--violating the public trust in myriad respects?
I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it.
Robert Vance Jr. clearly is devoted to protecting big-firm lawyers--and the corporations they thrive on like parasites. Why should we expect his wife to be any different?