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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 12.6.17

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 12.6.17

 

The Death Penalty Information Center published a report “The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death Penalty Convictions: Official Misconduct and Perjury or False Accusations.” Most of our supporters are most probably not surprised by official misconduct, shameful to say, but perhaps the hardest common cause for supporters to wrap their minds around is false confessions. And yet these make up more than a fifth of wrongful convictions. Why people ask would I confess if I am innocent? Our former chairman, Darrell Grayson who was executed in 2007 told me why. “I was hung over and worn out from many hours of long questioning and just needed it to stop. Besides I was led to believe that if I confessed I would not be executed. So I guess that would fall under the heading of both official misconduct and false confession 

Alabama tied third for executions for 2017. Per capita we are number 27! Of course per capita we also have the largest death row in the country so perhaps that is not too surprising. Should the conclusion be that Alabamians are more violent than those from other states? Or that Alabamians are more vindictive than others? We recommend the article Crimson Astray: When politicians perpetuate the death penalty against the will of the people in the Los Angeles Post Examiner. Here is a quote: “While DAs like Falls have to sign off on office decisions to seek the death penalty, their approval is easily secured by line prosecutors in Alabama — prosecutors who have been called out by scholars and courts alike for their often overzealous, at times absurd, conduct at trial.”

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an Alabama case involving jury selection. Black jurors had been improperly excluded from jury selection. It is a well established fact that black jurors are less likely to vote for death.  Such discrimination “casts doubt on the integrity of the judicial process,' and places the fairness of a criminal proceeding in doubt" stated Justice Sotomayor.

Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, will visit Alabama on Thursday and Friday as part of a 15-day tour of the U.S. On a previous visit to Alabama Bryan Stevenson arranged for us to meet with Mr. Alston and his staff. It was a very positive meeting. Mr. Alston was and no doubt continues to be extremely supportive of the need to abolish the death penalty and of what we do.

We close by quoting our Development Officer Brandon Fountain who stayed with us even after his move to South Carolina with his family. We are so grateful to him!  

“Just in time for the holidays, the October - December edition of On Wings of Hope is available on our website now! (And it is in the mail!) This year has certainly been difficult at times, but we are committed to holding on to hope during the holiday season—and for the rest of the year too.

Thanks for all your support all year long. It means so much”.

 

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

 

                                                      Esther