History of the District Attorney’s Office-Ninth Judicial Circuit

Since February 3rd, 1818, the Alabama Territory Legislature provided for an Attorney General of the Northern District of the Territory. This Attorney General was the counterpart of a District Attorney. Since 1819 the Alabama Constitution has provided for an attorney to prosecute crimes in the State. The prosecuting attorneys in Alabama were referred to as Solicitors until 1965 when a constitutional amendment changed the title to District Attorney.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit was created in 1836 and included the six counties of Cherokee, DeKalb, St. Clair, Randolph, Benton, and Talladega. DeKalb and Cherokee Counties have not always been in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. DeKalb and Cherokee Counties were in the Fifth Circuit from 1839 until 1878. During the late 1800s several counties were taken in and out of the Circuit, including Madison, Cullman, Calhoun, Etowah, Jackson, Marshall, and Blount. Beginning in the early 1900s and until 1947 the Circuit was made up of Cherokee, DeKalb, Jackson, and Marshall Counties. Marshall County was removed from the Circuit in 1947. The Ninth Judicial Circuit remained a three county circuit containing Cherokee, DeKalb, and Jackson until 1974. Since 1974 the Circuit has included Cherokee and DeKalb Counties.

Michael E. O’Dell, who currently serves as the District Attorney, is the 20th person to serve as Solicitor or District Attorney since the Office was created in 1836. The following is a list of those who have served as Solicitor or District Attorney:

1836 Thomas A. Walker
1839 William A. Acklin, Jr.
1845 William Overton Winston
1852 James A. Adams
1855 Nicholas Davis
1860 William Jehu Haralson
1862 John B. Walden
1866 Thomas Wilks Coleman
1868 Thomas C. Fullerton
1872 Isaac Dodge
1878 Thomas Wilks Fullerton
1887 John Alexander Lusk
1899 Richard Clayton Hunt
1911 Christopher C. Appleton
1921 Alfred E. Hawkins
1929 H.G. Bailey
1946 John Benton Tally
1954 John T. “Jay” Black
1976 A. Richard Igou
1996 Michael E. O’Dell

Former 9th Circuit DA's