Florence attorney John Odem is a remarkable man with a brilliant future. We first profiled Odem when he announced his candidacy for Lauderdale County District Judge several months ago. Odem, the son of Dennis Odem and his wife Carolyn, is not only a busy lawyer, but also a musician and a helicopter pilot--the youngest ever licensed in the state of Alabama.
Those who have seen John perform with his band the Cadillacs say he would have little problem making a living with his music, yet the second-generation attorney is serious about his law career. He practices criminal law as well as being an expert in pre-nuptial agreements--something he advocates for all future marriages. John is also staunchly against the death penalty. From a 2007 TimesDaily interview:
Florence attorney Dennis Odem, who represented Riley and Waldrop during their murder trials, contends the death penalty does not deter homicides."I don't think people who are committing a capital crime give one thought to, if I do this, I might be sentenced to death," he said.Odem said he expects Alabama will abandon the death penalty as a form of punishment.
When recently interviewed by the ShoalsInsider, Odem promptly answered questions concerning his relative youth:
A new broom sweeps clean. In my private practice of law I have handled hundreds of cases as plaintiff’s attorney in District and Circuit court. I have been specially appointed as a Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office in Lauderdale County as well as the City of Tuscumbia. Between all these fields of practice I find myself in the District Court on a daily basis. I believe this experience makes me very qualified for the job. My friends Judge George Carpenter and Judge Ed Tease were 29 and 30 years old when elected to the bench. Debra Bell Pasuer was also elected at a very young age and the county benefited many years of her presiding on the District Judge bench. Decisions rendered by the court effect the lives of everyone concerned. I feel privileged to be in a position to continue the precedent of honor and dignity of the court set by previous Lauderdale County Judges.
Obviously, whether John Odem is the next Lauderdale District Judge or not, he's becoming a political force in the county. Congratulations to John for having accomplished so much at such an early age and for having shown such integrity in his campaign. He will face Florence Municipal Judge James Hall II in the June 1st Democratic primary