Alabama Judges Reschedules Trial Until After BCS Championship Game
They take their football very seriously down in Alabama apparently:
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Birmingham lawyer Marcus Jones III got the miracle he was looking for this afternoon _ the delay of a trial so he could go to the BCS National Championship game in Miami on Jan. 7.
His attendance at the game had looked doubtful earlier today. A judge had denied his first attempt earlier this month to have the trial delayed.
Jones has been a self-described “fanatic” of University of Alabama football since his father took him to football games in the early 1960s as a young boy. He said he still has a beer can Joe Namath drank from at a bar the night it was announced the star Alabama quarterback would be joining the Jets.
“We’re just die hard Alabama fans,” he said of his family.
So when he was finally assured that his University of Alabama football team would be going to the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7, he bought tickets and had one major obstacle to overcome. He needed to get a civil court trial rescheduled that was set to begin the day of the game.
On Dec. 6, five days after Alabama was propelled into the BCS championship after its win in the Southeastern Conference championship game, Jones asked presiding Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Scott Vowell to continue the trial in which Jones was a defense attorney.
“The undersigned (Jones) is an Alabama football fanatic and has been since being a young child, attending games with great players such as Pat Trammell and Joe Namath, with a strong belief that football in Alabama is special,” Jones wrote in his motion.
Jones explained to the judge that he waited so close to the trial to ask for a continuance “due to superstition and the uncertainty of how the season would play out.”
Jones also explained in his motion that one of his daughters was getting married in mid-December _ which she did _ and was postponing her honeymoon until the week of the BCS bowl game. She will be in the vicinity of the bowl game an had made arrangements to meet the family to attend, he wrote.
Vowell, however, on Dec. 17 denied that motion without explanation.
Jones said he was “shocked” and in “disbelief” after the ruling. But he wasn’t giving up.
“I haven’t gotten rid of my tickets yet … I’m still planning on a miracle,” Jones said earlier today.
That miracle happened a few hours later this afternoon after Jones approached the judge with another plea.
Vowell, who will be retiring next year, said this afternoon in an email to The Birmingham News that he would delay the trial after all. The judge referenced previous trials where he and other judges had postponed trials or hearings for fan-lawyers with Alabama’s national championship game in 2010 and the Auburn national championship game held in January 2011.
“In both cases, I continued one trial which was set for the same week as the games in order for the attorney-fan to attend the game.”
“Knowing one of the lawyers in this case, Marcus Jones, to be an avid Roll-Tider, I thought that the case would settle if I kept it on the docket of January 7,” Vowell explained of his original denial of Jones’ motion. “The case went to mediation but it did not settle. I have a strict continuance policy and it helps keeps the docket current.”
“While I remain an Auburn fan, even after this dismal season, I hate to see an Alabama man cry. I have therefore reluctantly agreed to grant the lawyers a short continuance,” Vowell stated.
Well, as long as they’ve got their priorities straight.