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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.8.17

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.8.17

In one more horrific and disgusting ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court Vernon Madison who earlier this year had received a stay was ruled to be competent to be executed. Judge Breyer : “Mr. Madison is now 67 years old,” the opinion states. “He has lived nearly half of his life on death row. During that time, he has suffered severe strokes, which caused vascular dementia and numerous other significant physical and mental problems. He is legally blind. His speech is slurred. He cannot walk independently. He is incontinent. His disability leaves him without a memory of his commission of a capital offense.” Attorney General Steve Marshall says the state welcomes the court's decision in the case of 67-year-old Vernon Madison and will ask for an execution date. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that an Alabama prosecutor with a history of misconduct had "intentionally" made improper comments in the capital trial of Artez Hammonds  "in flagrant violation" of a pre-trial order warning him not to do so, nevertheless the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied Hammonds's appeal and permitted his conviction and death sentence to stand. The court noted that the prosecutor, District Attorney Douglas Valeska "had been reprimanded in prior cases for engaging in precisely the same unconstitutional and unethical behavior” and one wonders what good reporting him to the Alabama Bar will do. It certainly won’t help Artez Hammond.

The Board received a report on Alabama New South Coalition’s fall convention which was held last Saturday in Montgomery. They would have loved it! The initiative “Vote or Die” was the center piece of the event with reports from the various chapters on what they are doing to get out the vote and even we, although phadp is not a chapter were given the opportunity to report on what we are doing. But that was not all! There was a skit choreographed by Faya Rose Toure, the wife of Senator Hank Sanders about what happens when people don’t vote. And yes, we were included to highlight how the death penalty is negatively affected when we don’t vote. The Board would have loved it. It was funny even raucous while at the same time conveying a very serious message.

And then came a moment to celebrate Senator Hank Sanders’ 75th birthday and the Board was there in spirit with the card they had written for that occasion wishing him many more and thanking him for giving us hope. 

The convention also provided the opportunity to mention the Last Words and Testament of Torrey McNabb with the result that they will be read on a Selma radio program. We are grateful for all the positive energy that is generated when people of good will and action work together.

And along those lines we were also uplifted by a luncheon meeting with our German friend and Advisory Board member Ursula Malchau. We treasure her support!

It is never too late to share good news and last week a long time friend made us aware that Pope Francis gave a speech on October 11 saying the death penalty is "contrary to the Gospel because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator." 

 See you next week and please don’t forget: VOTE OR DIE!