Court officials begin new term in office

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

Probate Judge Wes Allen, left to right, District Judge William Hightower, Federal Judge Keith Watkins, Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough, and Circuit Judge Tom Head pose for a photo after a swearing-in ceremony for court officials at the Pike County Courthouse in Troy, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Watkins administered the oath of office. (Photo/Thomas Graning)

One by one, four Pike County court officials raised their right hands and placed their left on a Bible Thursday night.

Probate Judge Wes Allen, District Judge William Hightower, Circuit Judge Tom Head and Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough all began new terms on Jan. 10, solemnly affirming to uphold the laws of the United States and Alabama while faithfully and honestly performing their duties to the best of their abilities.

“Justice in Pike County is in great hands because there are good people involved,” said Federal Judge Keith Watkins who administered the oath of office to the four.

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Friday marks seven years since Watkins, now Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, served in Pike County and he said it was an honor to be back where he had practiced for so long.

Allen spoke to the packed courtroom after the ceremony.

“It is an honor to come to work every day,” Allen said, giving praise to God, his staff and supporters. “What an honor and privilege it is to be able to represent the roughly 32,000 citizens of Pike County.”

Scarbrough echoed his thoughts, thanking her supporters and co-workers.

“It’s been a hard year, but I made it,” Scarbrough shared, fighting back tears. “I see so many faces out there who have meant so much to me this last year.”

Hightower is the longest serving district judge in the state of Alabama and has never had a decision reversed in an appeal. He said he was grateful to so many in the audience.

“It is wonderful to see all of you who have pitched in and done your jobs well,” Hightower said, noting that he depended on many people to help him serve the district.

“When I started, I didn’t even want to be a judge,” Hightower said with a laugh. “And 36 years later, I figured out God did, so I am.”

Head has given his service in the legal realm for 27 years.

“My position is one of thanks and humility,” Head shared with those in attendance before acknowledging Scarbrough, Allen and Hightower.

“I am fortunate to serve with these people.”

A reception at the Pike County Courthouse followed the ceremony.

1.10.13- Court officials sworn in – Photos by Thomas Graning