Judge Armstead Lester Hayes III

Municipal Judge , Municipal Court ,
City of Montgomery , Alabama
On November 17, 2016, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry
Commission (“the Commission”) filed a complaint with the
Alabama Court of the Judiciary against Armstead Lester Hayes
III. The 91-page complaint, which sets forth 7 charges,
alleges that Judge Hayes, in his capacity as a judge of the
Municipal Court for the City of Montgomery, Alabama, committed
multiple violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics .
On November 18, 2016, the Commission, with the consent of
Judge Hayes, filed a motion to expedite the determination of
the complaint and requested that this matter be set for a
hearing . This Court granted the motion and set the matter for
a public hearing on January 5, 2017 .
More than 10 days be fore the scheduled hearing, the
Commission and Judge Hayes jointly moved to resolve the
charges of the complaint at the public hearing in accordance
with Art . VI, § 157, Ala. Const . 1901 (Off. Recomp.) . See
Rule 10, R. P . Jud . Inq. Comm ‘ n. The parties filed an
agreement and stipulation pursuant to which Judge Hayes
expressly waived (1) his right under Rule 5, R. P. Ala . Ct .
Jud . , to file an answer or other responsive pleading to the
complaint ; (2) his right under Rule 8, R. P . Ala . Ct . Jud . , to
30 days’ notice of the date and time for a hearing of the
complaint; and (3) his right of appeal under Art . VI, § 157,
Ala. Const . 1901 (Off . Recomp . ) .
In accordance with their agreement, Judge Hayes and the
Commission stipulate to the following:
“1. The Commission can prove •the following facts
by clear and convincing evidence :
“a. At all times relevant to this Complaint,
Judge Hayes was a Municipa~ Court Judge of the City
of Montgomery, Alabama .
“b. From 2002 to the present, Judge Hayes has
been the presiding judge of the Municipal Court of
the City of Montgomery, Alabama .
“c . The Municipal Court of the City of
Montgomery has jurisdiction over cases involving
criminal misdemeanor defendants and defendants with
traffic tickets .
“d . Many of these defendants are given fines and
court costs in connection with their convictions or
guilty pleas.
“e. On multiple occasions, defendants in the
Municipal Court have not paid their fines and costs
in full, even though they were always initially
given additional time to pay beyond the conviction
date to do so, i.e . , 30, 60, or 90 days.
“f. On many occasions prior to 2014, Judge Hayes
incarcerated traffic offenders for failure to pay
fines and costs without first, in compliance with
Rule 26.11, Ala. R. Crim. P.: (a) making sufficient
inquiry into the offenders’ financial, employment,
and family standing to determine if the offenders
had the ability to pay court-ordered financial
assessments; [ll (b) determining reason ( s) for an
offender ‘s inability to pay or failure to pay;
and/or (c) considering alternatives to incarceration
other than initially providing additional time to
pay, resulting in the incarceration of indigent
defendants, in some cases for several months.
“g. On numerous occasions, Judge Hayes failed to
permit a traffic offender to fully explain the
reason for either the offender ‘s failure or
inability to pay court-ordered financial
“h. The Judges of the Municipal Court had before
them, when a defendant was presented to them in the
situations that are made the basis of the Complaint,
the following information contained on a ‘warrant
list’ which listed the outstanding traffic tickets
and misdemeanor cases with the case number and the
nature of any outstanding warrants connected
therewith, from which the following information
could be gleaned: the general age of the
tickets/cases; the number of tickets/cases; whether
tickets/cases were given for the same offenses on
multiple occasions ; whether failure-to-appear
warrants had been issued in connection with those
tickets/cases; and the amount still due on the
tickets/cases listed on the ‘warrant list’ which
would be a general indicator of prior efforts to
1The complaint states that “[t] he term ‘court-ordered
financial assessment’ includes fees, fines, restitution, court
costs , attorney fees, and any other financial obligation
imposed upon a criminal defendant by a court of law.”
“I. When determining whether to convert fines
and costs to jail time, Judge Hayes took into
consideration the information on the warrant list,
and he represents he took into consideration any
information provided by the defendant. However,
there was generally neither a written order nor a
general oral pronouncement in Court that sets out
the basis for the Court’s decision to convert fines
and costs to jail time.
“j. For that reason, the Court’s records do not
reflect the extent, if any, of the Court’s inquiry
into the reasons the individual did not pay nor the
basis for the Court’s decision regarding indigency;
whether the individual had made a bona-fide effort
to pay the fines and costs; and whether alternative
punishments were adequate.
“k. Judge Hayes ordered some defendants to a
private entity called Judicial Correction Services,
an entity which was commonly referred to as a
private-probation company.
“1. In connection with the charges at issue in
this case, Judicial Correction Services acted as a
service to monitor defendants solely in connection
with the collection of outstanding fines and costs.
“m. Judge Hayes did delegate to Judicial
Correction Services the judicial functions of
ordering monitored defendants to appear in court to
show cause why they should not be removed from
Judicial Correction Services’s oversight and/or
issuing a summons to a ‘probation revocation’
“n. In connection with his use of Judicial
Correction Services, Judge Hayes placed some
municipal court defendants who appeared before him
on what was nominally referred to in the court’s
order as ‘probation’ even though they had not
received a suspended sentence or any jail time, but
had been given only fines and court costs. Under
Alabama law as applied to municipal courts, only

In accordance with the joint motion filed by the
Commission and Judge Hayes, this Court hereby ORDERS the
1. Judge Hayes is adjudicated guilty of seven charges
of violating the Canons of Judicial Ethics as
alleged in the complaint in this matter;
2. Judge Hayes is suspended without pay for 11 months;
he is given credit for time served since November 3,
2016, and the term of suspension shall end on
October 1, 2017.
3. Judge Hayes is taxed with the
proceeding including the amount
incurred by the Commission.
DONE this 5th day of January, 2017.
of this
Daifo· ~

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