DeKalb County District Judge Steve Whitmire has announced his intention to run for re-election in 2020.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens and families of DeKalb County as District and Juvenile Court Judge for the last 17 years,” he said. “I hope the voters will allow me to continue contributing to our community in this capacity.”
Judge Whitmire was first elected in 2002, and re-elected in 2008 and 2014. He qualified as a Republican on October 8, 2019.
As District Judge, Whitmire carries a wide range of case responsibilities, including small claims, child support, traffic violations, misdemeanor crimes and per-indictment felony crimes. In addition, he conducts DeKalb County’s Juvenile Court, where child delinquency and dependency cases are heard. These cases involve working closely with the Department of Human Resources, Juvenile Probation Officers and families to help DeKalb County children who are in trouble or in need of protection.
Whitmire additionally presides over the DeKalb County Drug Court. He began supervising Drug Court, an alternative sentencing program for qualified individuals charged with drug offenses, following the passing of the late Judge Clyde Traylor in 2008.
“In Drug Court, we have a real opportunity to help folks regain control of their lives,” he said. “One of the most inspiring parts of my job is being a part of that– seeing the commitment of our participants who successfully return to their families and communities as drug-free, productive citizens.”
Over Judge Whitmire’s tenure, the caseload in DeKalb County has increased to twice the size of the average Alabama district court case load. He credits his staff and those in the Clerk’s Office with ensuring efficient handling of the high number of cases that come through his court.
Whitmire was instrumental in establishing the DeKalb County Youth Service Center (D.Y.S.C.), a program serving children in the DeKalb County and Fort Payne City School Systems who are being removed from school due to delinquency or behavioral problems.
Where these children would previously have been placed in institutions across the state, the program allows them to stay with their families while attending D.Y.S.C. The students are able to keep pace with their school work while receiving psychiatric help, substance abuse treatment, and/or family counseling, tailored to each child’s individual needs.
“Over 10 years ago, we joined local school boards and superintendents in creating a way to help our children here at home, ” he said. “Thanks to their support, and the hard work and motivation of Director Thomas Whitten and the center’s staff, the D.Y.S.C. has been an amazing success and a true blessing to the children and families of our county.”
Whitmire was selected 2012 Judicial Conservationist of the Year by the Alabama Wildlife Federation. The award is one of 14 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards presented to those making substantial contributions in the conservation of our wildlife and related natural resources. In presenting the award to Whitmire, the AWF said, “Since becoming district judge in 2002, Judge Whitmire has been a valuable asset to DeKalb County and the natural resources of our state.”
Whitmire, who grew up in Fyffe, is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama School of Law. He practiced law in Rainsville from his admission to the Alabama State Bar in 1998 until his election.
He is an active member of the DeKalb County and Alabama State Bar Associations.
Whitmire and his wife Heather, a high school teacher in the DeKalb County School System, have two sons, Wesley and Trace.
“I am blessed to be your District Judge and I sincerely thank you all for entrusting me with this position. This office provides a special opportunity to serve our community by reaching individual citizens, young and old, on a daily basis.
“That’s what I’ve tried to do, and what I will continue to do. I ask for your vote in the March 3, 2020 Republican primary so that I may have the opportunity to carry on serving you and our county as District Judge.”