New judge for new Uniontown court

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As a small town, there’s a lot of things Uniontown doesn’t have that larger cities do. But as of Monday night, a Municipal Court Judge isn’t one of them.

The one Uniontown now has is Franklin Wayne Cordery, Attorney-at-Law, who received unanimous approval by the Uniontown City Council Monday to serve on the bench of the city’s new municipal court. After his approval, Cordery was formally sworn in by Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins.

Cordery lives in Prattville but has law offices in Clanton and, more recently, in Uniontown. In an interview Tuesday, Cordery said he has enjoyed practicing in the Black Belt and is looking forward to performing another service for–and becoming more involved with–the Uniontown community.

“Along with another attorney, we opened our office in Uniontown several months ago because we felt there was a need to be in service,” he said. “We’ve been able to come a long way in a short time. I’m very, very pleased with this opportunity.”

Cordery says that without a municipal court, Uniontown was missing an essential part of city government.

“Locally, one of the three branches of government was missing,” he said. “That’s what this is all about…this completes all three needed branches of government.”

More than just offering the balance of a court system, however, Cordery says he’s happy to participate in a court that will have several practical benefits for the city as well.

“This will be a big help to the city’s police officers, who won’t have to travel to be in court,” he says. “It will help the people as well, who also won’t have to make the trek somewhere else. It’s a minor step in the big scheme of things, but it’ll make a big difference here.”

During the Monday meeting, Councilman Eugene Booker supported Cordery’s nomination and said that his status as a relative newcomer to the city would actually be a help in his new position.

“Law and order is better done by somebody who doesn’t already know everybody else, by somebody who’s strange to the community,” Booker said. “This man is a strange man, but I know him, he’s done some work for me, and he’ll do what he’s got to do. I think he’ll make a good judge.”

Cordery thanked the Council and promised he would rule in such a way that both upheld the law and preserved the self-respect of those who will come before the court.

“I’ve been in private practice in five or six counties, and I’ve always gone by the book. That’s what the book is there for,” he said. “I want to do it without taking away anyone’s dignity. I’ve been in some courts where the judge makes sure that the person standing before them knows who’s the judge and who isn’t. To be that way just isn’t necessary. You can rule without taking away their dignity. I’m more than happy to serve as Uniontown’s municipal judge and that’s the way I’m going to do the job.”

Cordey said Tuesday that the lack of a previous municipal court meant that there was still “a lot of legwork to do,” but that the initial court session would likely occur in June. The time and regularity for court to be held are undecided at this point (Cordery said he would need to discuss the matter with Uniontown Chief of Police Donald Rhodes) but the place will probably be the downstairs meeting hall at the Uniontown municipal building.

Cordery is married to Linda Huebner, also an attorney, and has two grown children.

“Linda’s my day-time junior partner, and my night-time senior partner,” he laughs.