By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Judge David T. Puckett was raised in Athens and went to East Limestone High School. He went first to Calhoun and then finished his undergrad degree at Athens State University. He majored in political science and minored in business. For several years he worked as a contractor on Redstone Arsenal, and specialized in logistics. By the time he decided to go to law school at Alabama, he was married with children, and his third child was born one month before he took the bar exam. Even with the little amount of sleep that comes with having a newborn, he passed the bar exam on his first try.
Some of what influenced Judge Puckett to pursue a career in law was having a brother-in-law who was an attorney in Birmingham, and a wife who has now been a paralegal for more than thirty years. Yet, it was the study of the Constitution when he was at Athens State that lit a fire within that has never dimmed. Judge Puckett has practiced in several Alabama cities, and has been both a partner as well as the head of his own firm. He has been the chief litigator for the UAW Legal Services Plan as well as a Deputy District Attorney for Limestone County. His original plan had been to practice at home in Athens, but he first went to Birmingham for a few years. They finally were able to move back “home” because he wanted his kids to be raised in a safe and small environment and not a large city.
When the recession hit, Puckett had to re-invent his practice and became something similar to a “circuit rider” in that he traveled throughout North Alabama and tried cases in 14 counties. “It got me in front of all the judges, and taught me a lot,” he told me. It was that experience that forged strong professional relationships that resulted in more than twenty letters of support from sitting North Alabama judges when he was up for the appointment as Limestone County District Court Judge, Place Two.
While being on the bench had been a long-time dream, for several years the needs of family members suffering from Alzheimer’s had to take priority. As difficult as that time was, Judge Puckett will tell you it made him a better lawyer, someone who will fight for the most vulnerable amongst us: the elderly and the young. Judge Puckett is a strong supporter of Shirley’s Law, which was recently signed into law by Governor Ivey and creates a database of people who have been convicted of elder abuse. Shirley’s Law will prevent abusers from slipping through the cracks and re-offending by getting hired at any senior care facility in the state of Alabama. In addition, Judge Puckett has been thanked for his work so far with regard to getting child support cases back on track by pressing those that are behind on their payments and putting repeat offenders in jail for contempt of their child support order.
When the seat on the bench became open this last time, it was the support of Puckett’s colleagues that was one of the factors in his decision to apply, as well as that of the community. When Governor Ivey informed him of his having been selected, she said, in part: “The responsibility that comes with this appointment is not to be taken lightly. I trust that you will rise to the occasion and set a standard for others to follow. I appreciate you serving in this capacity, and I am confident you will render valuable service to the citizens of Alabama.”
For his part, Judge Puckett said the following on January 26, 2022, the day he was sworn in: I was very honored to be chosen and appointed by Governor Kay Ivey in January of 2022. As your District Judge, Place 2, I will continue to make sure justice is served as efficiently as possible. I will strive to bring integrity, compassion, and toughness where needed to our court system and put my life and legal experience to work for Limestone County.”
Judge Puckett has been a member of First Baptist Church of Athens since he was twelve years old and is a deacon there. He has several hobbies, not the least of which is being an award-winning member of the Alabama BBQ Association and one of their Master Judges. “I am driven by excellence,” he told me with a chuckle, “and strive to be excellent in all that I do.” If this is what you, the voter, are looking for in a Limestone County District Judge, then keep Judge David Puckett on the bench by voting for him on May 24.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner