The Latest: Chief justice will go to trial-like proceeding

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Posted: Aug 08, 2016 6:50 PM
The Latest: Chief justice will go to trial-like proceeding

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on misconduct charges that could result in the removal of Alabama's suspended chief justice, Roy Moore (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A state panel has refused to dismiss an ethics complaint against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, sending him to a trial-like proceeding on Sept. 28.

The Court of the Judiciary on Monday denied Moore's request to dismiss the complaint that he violated ethical standards for judges with a January memo to probate judges regarding same-sex marriage.

The court also denied the Judicial Inquiry's Commission's request to go ahead and remove Moore from office.

Moore told probate judges in January that a March Alabama Supreme Court order to deny marriage licenses to gay couples remained in effect.

The commission has accused Moore of urging probate judges to defy the courts on gay marriage. Moore said he was only noting the order had not been lifted.

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3:30 p.m.

Alabama's Court of the Judiciary says it will decide soon whether the state's suspended chief justice committed misconduct requiring his removal from office.

The facts presented in Monday's misconduct hearing are not in dispute: Months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that everyone has a fundamental right to marry, Roy Moore sent an order to 68 subordinate judges saying the state's same-sex marriage ban remained in effect.

Moore said he was only clarifying the status of Alabama jurisprudence, at a time when his fellow justices were refusing to challenge a federal judge's order that Alabama comply with the nation's highest court and stop enforcing its marriage ban.

His accusers say Moore was on a mission to defy federal law. And outside court after the hearing, Moore told supporters that he's been targeted by people who "don't want anybody opposing the agenda of the homosexual movement."

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3 p.m.

A lawyer for Alabama's Judicial Inquiry Commission says the state's suspended chief justice, Roy Moore, should be removed for misconduct because he urged 68 subordinate probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage.

That's the core argument attorney John Carroll made before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary on Monday. The court said it would issue its ruling soon.

Carroll says Moore has repeatedly refused to respect the judiciary, and "was on a mission not to recognize federal law regarding same-sex marriage."

Moore's attorney Mat Staver countered that Moore warned the probate judges that he could not tell them what to do, and was merely stating a "legal truism" when he said the state's marriage ban remained in effect.

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2:40 p.m.

A hearing on misconduct allegations against Alabama's suspended chief justice, Roy Moore, has concluded. The state's Court of the Judiciary has announced that it will soon issue its ruling.

Moore is accused of violating judicial ethics by urging probate judges to defy the federal courts months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry.

Moore said his order simply explained that a previous state ban on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples remained in effect until the state's high court removed it, despite a federal judge's order to comply with the nation's highest court.

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2:10 p.m.

An attorney for Alabama's suspended chief justice, Roy Moore, has concluded his opening presentation before the Court of the Judiciary.

He says Moore never told anyone to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. And he says Moore has done nothing to warrant a misconduct conviction.

Former federal magistrate John Carroll says this defense argument "defies common sense."

Carroll is representing state judicial investigators who filed charges against Moore. He's recalled that Moore was removed from office in 2003 for defying a federal court order on the Ten Commandments, and he said Moore is again defying federal courts with his opposition to gay weddings.

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1:50 p.m.

A hearing on judicial misconduct charges against Alabama's chief justice has begun before a packed house in Montgomery.

Roy Moore's supporters applauded as he entered the courtroom where usually presides over state Supreme Court hearings.

Moore's attorney Mat Staver said there's no need for a trial, since no material facts are in dispute. He said their written arguments are enough to show why the Alabama Court of the Judiciary should dismiss the charges.

An attorney for judicial investigators was speaking next.

Moore is accused of violating judicial ethics by urging probate judges in a January order to defy the federal courts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry. That order said a previous state ban on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples remained in effect.

Moore said his order was simply an effort to answer the probate judges' questions.

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12:40 p.m.

Both supporters and opponents of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore are rallying outside the state judicial building before a hearing that could determine whether he's ousted for misconduct in office.

About 100 demonstrators who back Moore listened to speakers decrying homosexuality ahead of the hearing Monday afternoon. Loudspeakers amplified Christian music across the state capital.

A smaller group of Moore opponents also gathered nearby, accusing the judge of trying to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary will consider a request by judicial investigators to remove Moore from office for urging judges to keep banning gay marriage in defiance of the federal courts. Moore denies any wrongdoing, and calls his suspension a violation of his rights.

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11:35 a.m.

A few dozen supporters of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore have gathered outside the state's judicial building, hours before a hearing on misconduct charges that could lead to his removal from office.

The demonstrators have set up a sound system to amplify Christian music across downtown Montgomery.

Some are carrying signs saying "Judge Moore is Right" and "Sodomy Ruins Nations." One man is waving a Christian flag with a red cross on it.

No supporters of gay marriage have showed up, and police have yet to make their presence known.

Moore's case is being heard Monday afternoon. He denies violating judicial ethics with his memo urging state probate judges to defy federal court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage.

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3:30 a.m.

A court is considering whether suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore should lose his job for an order on gay marriage.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary scheduled a hearing for Monday on judicial investigators' request to remove Moore from office.

Moore denies any wrongdoing and is asking the court to dismiss administrative charges filed earlier this year.

Moore is accused of violating court ethics with an administrative order to state probate judges saying Alabama laws against same-sex marriage remained in effect after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.

Investigators with the Judicial Inquiry Commission are asking the court to oust Moore without a trial, but Moore opposes the request.

Both supporters and opponents of Moore are planning noontime rallies outside Alabama's main judicial building before the hearing.