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12/09/94 THOMAS H. FIGURES v. JANICE F. FIGURES

December 9, 1994

THOMAS H. FIGURES
v.
JANICE F. FIGURES



Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (DR-91-502086). John Rochester, TRIAL JUDGE.

Rehearing Overruled January 20, 1995, . Certiorari Denied March 24, 1995. Released for Publication August 8, 1995.

Wright, Retired Appellate Judge. Robertson, P.j., and Yates, J., concur. Thigpen, J., concurs in result only.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wright

WRIGHT, Retired Appellate Judge

The courts of this state, trial and appellate, together with the Supreme Court of the United States, have entertained various pleadings and complaints between the parties since early 1992. The appellant here has been the primary litigant in these matters. It all began with the filing of a complaint for divorce from the appellant by the wife in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama.

The first event in the Figures saga occurred when all the circuit Judges of Mobile County recused themselves from presiding over the case. The stated cause for such recusals was that appellant Figures was a prominent, practicing attorney and municipal Judge in Mobile County. As required by law, a circuit Judge from another judicial circuit was appointed by the Chief Justice of Alabama to serve in the case. That appointee was Judge Partin of adjoining Baldwin County.

The appellant promptly moved for the recusal of Judge Partin on the ground of possible bias. The refusal of Judge Partin to recuse himself was brought by petition for writ of mandamus to this court. The writ was granted. Another Judge, Robert M. Harper of Lee County, was appointed to preside by the Chief Justice on April 16, 1992.

After some preliminary rulings by Judge Harper, the appellant charged partiality of the Judge against him and requested the removal of Judge Harper. A subsequent petition for writ of mandamus, requested by the appellant to require recusal of Judge Harper, was filed before the Supreme Court of Alabama and was summarily denied.

The action for divorce and the counterclaim of the appellant were orally tried before Judge Harper. A judgment was entered, granting a divorce to the wife. That judgment contained an order for a division of real and personal property and granted to the wife an amount of alimony in gross and an attorney's fee to be paid by the appellant within a designated time (60 days).

The judgment was appealed to this court on August 3, 1992. Motion for supersedeas bond was filed. Bond was set on September 24, 1992. Bond was filed November 2, 1992.

The appeal was heard by this court, and a judgment of affirmance was entered on March 19, 1993. Figures v. Figures, 624 So. 2d 188 (Ala. Civ. App. 1993). Petitions for certiorari to the Alabama Supreme Court and subsequently to the United States Supreme Court were filed and denied. The Alabama petition was denied on July 23, 1993, and a certificate of judgment was entered on July 30, 1993. A motion to stay enforcement was filed in the United States Supreme Court and was denied August 10, 1993.

The wife moved for a judgment of contempt against the appellant for his failure to perform as ordered in the judgment of divorce. After a hearing on December 3, 1993, the court found the appellant to be in civil contempt of court. He was ordered to comply as ordered and was committed to jail until he could purge himself by compliance. Bond was denied. Subsequently, another Judge of Mobile County released the appellant from jail upon his payment into court of an amount calculated to be due the wife under the divorce judgment. The judgment of contempt was appealed to this court. This court affirmed with opinion on May 20, 1994. Figures v. Figures, [Ms. AV93000210, May 20, 1994] 646 So. 2d 62 (Ala. Civ. App. 1994).

On January 27, 1994, a new Judge, John W. Rochester of the 40th Judicial Circuit, was appointed by the Chief Justice to preside in the case.

On December 30, 1993, the wife filed a pleading termed "amendment to her instanter motion for contempt." That motion came while the judgment of contempt was pending on appeal to this court. That appeal was ended by the decision of this court heretofore referred to. ...


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