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Alleged human trafficking victims appear at Hames’s hearing

The alleged victims of Cullman attorney Randy Hames came to the hearing as a group, wearing matching shirts emblazoned with a barcode, which has become a common symbol in anti-human trafficking movements. At their request, the victims themselves were not photographed. /  W.C. Mann

CULLMAN - On Friday afternoon, Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate held a status hearing in an effort to organize the many moving parts in a complex set of criminal and civil actions facing Cullman attorney Randy Hames. After arrests for soliciting prostitution and stalking, and filings by alleged victims for protection from abuse, Hames was additionally charged with multiple counts of human trafficking for allegedly requesting sex acts as rent payment from tenants and as payment for legal services from a client.

Pate was asked to come from Madison County to oversee the case after local judges recused themselves from the case. Hames was, prior to his arrest, actively practicing law in Cullman and had professional connections to all local judges.

“We’re just getting started,” said Champ Crocker who, with his partner Anna Sparks, is representing the alleged victims in the civil cases. “This is an initial status conference, and it dealt more with the criminal cases than the civil cases I’m involved with. So we’ve got an out-of-town judge who’s just trying to schedule some routine matters.”

Present before Judge Pate were Crocker and Sparks, Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Cline, who is prosecuting the criminal cases, and defense attorneys Johnny Berry and Brandon Little who are defending Hames in the criminal cases. Defense in the civil cases has not been named. Hames and his family were present, but Hames spent most of the hearing away from the courtroom in an attorneys’ lounge while family members sat in on the hearing.

The hearing was routine but experienced a moment of drama when the alleged victims arrived as a group, some wearing wigs and sunglasses to mask their identities. They wore matching shirts emblazoned with a barcode, a common logo used by movements the combat human trafficking, and the phrase “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for mid-April.

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  • W.C. Mann
    Anna Sparks and Champ Crocker, attorneys for the alleged victims in civil actions against Hames, leave the courtroom after the hearing.