Meet Seth Brooks!

Are you planning to vote in our local elections and want to know more about the candidates? In this episode of “Home Grown,” we’re going to meet Seth Brooks, an Assistant District Attorney running for Circuit Judge. We’ll learn how his background and experience make him the best choice for upholding the laws in our community.

Meet Seth Brooks

Seth was originally born in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of Dr. Roland and Kimberly Brooks. The family moved to Duluth when Seth was five. His dad got a job at Flowers Hospital, and he's been practicing there for over 30 years. 

After graduating from Houston Academy in 2004, Seth went on to college and graduated from Auburn University in 2011. While there, he was a firefighter for the Air Force ROTC and Civil Air Patrol, becoming a First Lieutenant. He was also a member of the Lee County Community Emergency Response Team. However, he had to figure out what he wanted to do next.

He took the LSAT and went to law school where he met his wife, Jordan Reeves Brooks—whose parents own Hunt’s Restaurant. Seth went through law school and decided he wanted to come back here to Dothan. He interned at the district attorney's office with Doug Valeska for his first and second summers and was promised a job. After he took the bar, the job was waiting for him—and he took it.

Seth and his family have been living here in Dothan ever since. They have three beautiful children and two dogs, enjoying life in Houston County.

Legal Experience

For his entire legal career for the past seven and a half years, Seth has been an Assistant District Attorney. The position includes prosecutions—everything from traffic tickets up to capital murder. In fact, he was involved in the longest murder jury trial in Houston County history. The convicted man is currently sitting on death row for three counts of capital murder; Seth had to argue to both judge and jury to give him the death penalty and succeeded.

On the civil side, Seth has also done plenty of state work. This includes asset forfeitures and post-conviction petitions for relief. Additionally, in his first year as an intern, he wrote a brief to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals on a forfeiture issue in which they agreed with him. With plenty of court experience, Seth has faced challenge after challenge without always knowing what’s coming next. 

The Duties Of Circuit Judge

Seth is currently running for circuit judge, a position that hears all felony cases and any accompanying misdemeanor violations that go with it. They also hear custody disputes, divorce disputes, and civil lawsuits. While they cover the entire gamut, the majority of what circuit judges here in this county deal with are criminal cases. 

Circuit judges are also the only judges in the state of Alabama that hear jury trials. The judge is also going to hear arguments from the attorneys in motion hearings, where they’re arguing laws and facts as to why something should go in their favor for the judge making a legal ruling. They also rule in bench trials, where the judge is the finder of fact and the gatekeeper of the law. They make legal rulings and also determine whether someone is liable, not liable, guilty, or not guilty.

A circuit judge makes decisions based on the law. Of course, as far as being the founder of guilt or innocence, that rests solely within the jury. As Judge Anderson likes to say, the old three-legged milk stool is the judge, the jury, and the parties involved. 

The Ideal Candidate

What makes Seth the ideal candidate for Circuit Judge? His wealth of experience. As a trial judge, he recently tried his 71st jury trial. He’s been practicing law for seven and a half years and has been involved in over 10,000 cases. 

Having had to make legal arguments in both criminal and civil matters, Seth knows how to handle juries and courtrooms, learning from some of the best judges in the state of practice. Every time you go into a courtroom, Seth says, it's a different learning experience. With over 10,000 cases, that's over 10,000 learning experiences. 

Seth chose to be a prosecutor because he’s also committed to public service, something he learned early on as a firefighter. In our local circuit, we don't have public defenders per se. Rather, there’s a state attorney and the district attorneys. Seth and his colleagues are public employees; the public defender system is set up by contract. The defense will be someone who runs a private practice, though they have a contract to do that as well. 

In his first year at law school, Doug Valeska came and talked to his class. Doug has a passion for helping victims, and Seth asked to intern with him. After his first year, he saw the work that was done and wanted to return for a second year—and kept going after that. Of course, that doesn’t mean he would never go into defense work; it’s just not the current path he’s on now. 

Empathy And Neutrality

Another reason why Seth believes he would be good for this position is his background. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences, which gives each person a different outlook on life. At the district attorney's office, one thing Seth has really learned is empathy—especially with the victims. Their families have to deal with these issues, and justice needs to be sought for the victims and their families. 

That being said, Seth notes that a judge's job is only to ensure that justice is sought after conviction. It's not their job to determine guilty or not guilty unless it's a bench trial. They always have to take into account what the law says, and Seth believes a judge should be right down the middle when it comes to prosecution and defense. They need to be neutral.

Judges hear the arguments presented, and they need to make factual and legal rulings for bench trials. On jury trials, the factual findings are outside of their hands; it's not their job to do that. As a prosecutor, this sets Seth up well because he’s in court all the time. This has prepared him for being in court and knowing how it’s run.  

Reform And Change

While it’s not perfect, Seth believes our judicial system is the best in the world. Of course, there are always areas that need to be improved upon, reformed, and changed. Change and reform are outside the hands of the circuit judge, though; Seth says it’s left up to elected officials of Montgomery. 

Some of the things that need to be reformed, Seth notes, are things related to sentencing. Judges need to follow the guidelines and regulations, but does everybody need to go to prison if they're found guilty? Absolutely not. Some people need a good swift kick in the rear to get it together, while there are those people that don't deserve to come out from jail. 

Prosecutors have to make their recommendations when asked by the state. Seth has had to learn to sift through those, looking for somebody who needs help or a hand up versus somebody who needs to go away for as long as possible under the law. While it’s impossible to get it right all the time, Seth tries his absolute best.  

Courtroom Experience And Future Plans

Seth believes his courtroom experience, hands down, is what separates him from the other candidates running for circuit judge. While he’s been practicing for the least amount of years compared to the other candidates, his courtroom experience speaks for itself. 

Circuit judge is a position that requires somebody who knows what they're doing in a courtroom—because that's where they work. It needs somebody who knows how to interact and communicate with jurors and parties and knows how to make decisions on the fly. They also need to maintain their demeanor as well. Seth is battle-proven by doing it time and time and time again.

If elected, Seth simply wants to do the best job he can do. While people have told him that he has some big shoes to fill, he plans to bring his own shoes and do the best he can do. While he won’t always get it right, he’ll do his absolute best.

Community Involvement

Seth has plans for being involved in the community. As detailed on his campaign website, Seth is involved in a variety of different organizations. This includes the Masons, the Shriners, Dothan Young Professionals, the VFW Auxilary, the Houston County Bar Association’s philanthropy committee, and the Dothan Rotary. 

The community means a lot to Seth, his wife, and their families. Both of their families are here, and they’re all very rooted in the Wiregrass area. He plans to live here for the long run and help everybody as much as he can.

Vote Seth Brooks For Circuit Judge

As you can see, Seth Brooks is a great candidate for circuit court judge. On May 24th, 2022, the Houston and Henry County Republican primary election will be held. If there's a runoff, it'll be about a month later in June. Be sure to check out Seth’s website and Facebook page to see how you can get involved, whether you want to support the campaign or contribute.

Of course, the best way to show your support is to build the ballot. Make sure you vote always. At the end of the day, Seth tells everybody no matter who they vote for, just show up and vote. It’s a great right to have as an American.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of “Home Grown,” where I talk about everything Dothan and the Wiregrass area. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!