Courtroom 1:
Sculpture of King Solomon by Craig Sheldon

"Justice Grants To Each That Which Is His Due" as shown in Courtroom 1 of the Mobile County Government Center Annex

The Judgment of Solomon was created by the late Craig Turner Sheldon, an artist, carpenter, toy maker, humorist, newspaper columnist and master wood sculptor.

Sheldon created all of the wood sculptures that were located in the courtrooms of the 1959 Mobile County Courthouse. The Judgment of Solomon was originally placed in the “main” Probate Court courtroom of the 1959 Courthouse. In the Alabama judicial system, the probate courts are oftentimes referred to as the “Solomonic Court”. The raison d'etre for this reference is that Alabama probate courts have responsibility for many family and personal life matters and its impossible to have a written statute for every circumstance a judge of probate will encounter. Accordingly, Alabama judges of probate are accorded a significant amount of discretion in the decisions they are called upon to make. In 2005 the Probate Court's courtrooms were temporarily relocated to Mobile Government Plaza and The Judgment of Solomon was displayed in the Probate Court's main courtroom. In 2010 the Probate Court was relocated to the Mobile Government Center Annex. The Judgment of Solomon is prominently displayed in Probate Court's main courtroom.

The sculpture refers to the Biblical account found in 1 Kings 3:16-28, where two new mothers approached King Solomon, bringing with them one dead baby boy. Each mother presents the same story and accusation: she and the other woman live together and have both recently given birth to baby boys. One night, soon after the birth of their respective boys, the other woman woke to find that she had smothered her own baby in her sleep. In anguish and jealousy, she took her dead son and exchanged it with the other's child. The following morning, the woman discovered the dead baby, and soon realized that it was not her own son, but the other woman's.

After some deliberation, King Solomon calls for a sword to be brought before him. He declares that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy's true mother cries out,” Please, My Lord, give her the live child - do not kill him!” However, the liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaims, “It shall be neither mine or yours - divide it!” Solomon instantly gave the live baby to the real mother, realizing that the true mother's instincts were to protect her child, while the liar revealed that she did not truly love the child.

There are two hands contained in the sculpture. The outstretched hand on the left signifies a person in need, who is seeking assistance. The clenched fist with the pointing finger on the right signifies a person who is claiming something of right allegedly due to them. Most of the matters heard by the Probate Court involve these types of matters. Sheldon's sculpture is reflective of the precept that “Justice grants to each that which is his due”. This phrase was noted in the Probate Court's main courtroom in the 1959 Mobile County Courthouse and continued in the Mobile Government Center Annex.

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Courtroom 2:
Sculpture of Lady Justice by Craig Turner Sheldon

" Justice Is a Man's Abiding Interest For Justice is Truth in Action" as shown in Courtroom 2 of the Mobile County Government Center Annex

Lady Justice was created by the late Craig Turner Sheldon, an artist, carpenter, toy maker, humorist, newspaper columnist and master wood sculptor.

Sheldon created all of the wood sculptures that were located in the courtrooms of the 1959 Mobile County Courthouse. Lady Justice was originally placed in the “main” District Court courtroom of the 1959 Courthouse. In 1995 the Circuit and District Courts' courtrooms were relocated to Mobile Government Plaza and many of the Sheldon pieces were relocated to the new facility. The Probate Court began utilizing the courtroom where Lady Justice was located in the 1959 Courthouse. In 2005 the Probate Court's courtrooms were temporarily relocated to Mobile Government Plaza and Lady Justice was displayed in the Probate Court's main courtroom. In 2010 the Probate Court was relocated to the Mobile Government Center Annex. Lady Justice is prominently displayed in Probate Court's courtroom number 2.

Lady Justice ranks as one of the most well-known statues in the world. Other popular names for the statue are “Scales of Justice” and “Blind Justice”. The statue dates its origins from ancient Greek and Roman times as the lady represented is Themis, the goddess of justice and law, who was well known for her clear sightedness.

The scales that she holds represent the impartiality with which justice is served. The lady is blindfolded to reflect that justice is not subject to influence. Lady Justice symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor. The book in the backdrop of the sculpture represents “the Law”.

Sheldon's sculpture is reflective of the precept that “Justice is Man's abiding interest for justice is truth in action”. This phrase was noted in the District Court's main courtroom in the 1959 Mobile County Courthouse (later utilized by the Probate Court) and now continued in the Mobile Government Center Annex.




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