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Mother of murder-suicide victim pushing for legal system reform

Kayla Tate White plans on suing the estate of her ex-husband, Brian Buening, as well as pushing change within the local justice system.

MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, Ala. — Kayla Tate White, the mother of slain Tate Buening, plans to sue the estate of her ex-husband, Brian Buening for the murder of their 10-year-old son. After he killed their son, Buening committed suicide. 

Alongside suing his estate, White is also pushing for change within the justice system, especially here in Madison County.

For starters, White's attorney says there's a shortage of judges in Madison County.

"There is a commission, a state commission that assigns judges different counties and it's important to note Madison County has been growing in the last almost 50 years. Madison County has received one circuit court judge to address the growing population of Madison County," said Will League, White's attorney. 

To help paint this picture, here's a comparison:

Jefferson County has 27 judges and Madison County has seven.

League says that Jefferson County is experiencing a surplus of judges, while the judicial system in Madison County is struggling, "there's seven surplus, we have a deficit of almost 3.5 judges."

RELATED: Mother of 10-year-old Harvest murder-suicide victim speaks out

This limited number of judges has directly impacted how this case has been handled.

"To handle the caseload: the judges, the legal system, they are stressed to the breaking point to handle these types of cases," said League.

White says that the priorities of the justice system need rearranging.

"Children's safety needs to come first in the court system and in the police force. If somebody calls and says, my child's not safe or if you follow a document that says my child's not safe, that should prioritize everything. If you go- if a policeman goes to a home and they say my child's not safe, I think it should be a requirement that you lay your eyes on that child," said White.

They are also pushing to better equip law enforcement with more information.

"Kayla and Ross provided clear and calm information to the officer, and that's the only information he has so it may be better if he gets that information from dispatch as to what he's going into," said League.

Case to case, things can be so different, and the more law enforcement knows about each situation - the more they can help and the better they can help.

"If there's an order from a judge, if there is a threat of death and there's an emergency hearing pending, the department, we would hope- would have information, not only to protect that officer but so that officer could have more information going into that call to know how to protect himself and the community," said League.

RELATED: GoFundMe account created for family of murder victim Tate Buening

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