LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - After 39 years on the bench, Lee County Family Court Judge Richard Lane is about to retire his gavel and robe. Lane has been a military judge, municipal judge and was elected Lee counties first family court judge back in 1999.
He said the most difficult part of the job is trying to help the abused and neglected children that come before him. The best part is seeing families overcome their struggles. He believes family court has the most demanding case load, handling 800 divorces, three thousand juvenile matters, along with other cases each year. Judge Lane said he prays daily for wisdom.
"There are so many times I get down on my knees in this room or in that bathroom and ask the Lord for wisdom cause I'm not smart enough to solve all the problems before me, so the Lord has blessed me with strength and has blessed me with good people around me," he said.
Judge Lane said he will not be endorsing one particular candidate, saying they are all friends of his and all qualified.
News Leader 9 was able to speak with all four republican candidates on the June 1st primary ballot. We asked them why voters should elect them.
"I feel like I'm the most qualified candidate for this position because in the past 17 and a half years I have had the opportunity to represent the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and children that comes before family court judge I know the impact the decision made by the family court judge will have on the families that come before them and also as the community as a whole," said Republican candidate Melissa Thomas.
"I have been practicing law in lee county for 30 years. I think by far I have the most experience in representing children and families that come before family court. That has been my concentration for thirty years there is not a single case that come before the family judge that I have not been involved in terms of representing children and families," explained candidate, Dewy Teague.
"Many people have asked me what sets me apart from all the other candidates, I think it will be my experience overall in all areas of family court I have done a vast majority of the cases over 30-thousand cases in my 26 years that I have been in Lee county," said candidate Margaret Mayfield.
"For the last 7 years I have refereed for Judge Lane, meaning I have heard cases on his behalf, during that time I have learned the people that come to this courtroom are hurting children and hurting families of this county and if I can spend the next six years of my life helping those people live and minimizing the collateral damage of a family in failure then I have spent my time well," stated Mike Fellows, candidate for Family Court Judge.