The Calhoun County Commission, which made the payments, sued Murray, the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts and the Calhoun County District Attorney's office in 2008 seeking clarity on the issue.
The ruling was issued May 12 by Jefferson County Judge Michael Graffeo. Local judges had recused themselves from hearing the case. The Star received a copy of the ruling Thursday.
The judge ruled the county lawfully paid Murray $19,496 for preparing the lists. Commissioners have argued in the past Murray never performed the service. They said the list was prepared by county staff.
Murray charged the county 5 cents per name for each list produced, one each for seven different elections between 2003 and 2006.
The Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts found a 1985 local law prevented Murray from taking the money. The law said Murray could only charge for "actual expenses" associated with preparing the list. The state auditors argued the county and Murray should pay back the money.
While the judge ruled that while the payments were legal, he said the 1985 local law gives the commission and probate judge a clear choice between how the judge would be paid for this service.
County Administrator Ken Joiner said he would abide by the judge's ruling.
"I think (the circuit judge) clarified some things with our local bill that will help in the future by stating that the County Commission will have an option of disagreeing if (the probate judge) seeks to claim a nickel a name," Joiner said.
Murray said he expected the outcome.
"Of course I'm happy with the ruling," Murray said. "I never doubted what the ruling would be. I certainly wouldn't have taken any money that I wasn't supposed to have."