Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.19.17
While we and the rest of the world watching the unfolding horror in Arkansas, hoping that our friends have used their voices to speak out, we have also been keeping our focus on Alabama. As you know we have 2 upcoming executions and we also have a new Governor. While we have yet to find out about Governor Ivey’s stand on clemency we firmly believe that she has to be more evolved than her predecessor who stated that he would never grant clemency.
And so we see this as an opportunity to really make our voices heard. The Talking Point for both Tommy Arthur and Robert Melson are up on our website at http://wwwphadp.org/?q=alerts as well as on our Facebook page. We will also be sending them out as well and so we beg you if you ever wrote on behalf of any of us to previous Alabama governors who are on record of only granting one clemency, and that to a white woman, please now is the time to write, email and to call. Let us be hopeful, after all the Judicial Override bill was the first bill signed by Governor Ivey.
The Alabama Senate voted 25-8 to add nitrogen gas to lethal injection and the electric chair as allowable methods of execution in the state. The bill now moves to the Alabama House. And in another sorry move by our legislators Alabama senators approved legislation aimed at shortening the time of death penalty appeals. The legislation, which now moves to the Alabama House, would require inmates to raise claims of ineffective counsel at the same time as the inmate's direct appeal claiming trial errors. The legislation is based on Texas' process which was recently upheld by the courts, said Sen. Cam Ward, a Republican from Alabaster. Great, so when Alabama grows up it can be just like Texas!
For National Poetry Month the Innocence Project published a poem by our past chairman Darrell B. Grayson. He would have appreciated that, as did we. Always unforgotten!
To close we would like to give a shout out to the Alabama University Crimson White article on the Override bill, Alabama's death penalty is still far from fair . It is refreshing to see our future, so to speak, call a spade a spade and be non political by seeing that Override bill for what it actually is, at best only a beginning. And last but certainly not least we highly recommend the Opinion piece in al.com “Getting rid of Judicial Override is only the First Step” by by Richard S. Jaffe, the Senior partner in the Birmingham law firm of Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight P.C. and the author of "Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned". “The death penalty is not the solution to crime; in its application, it is a crime itself.” Yes!
See you next week!