Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 10.19.22

The Alabama Supreme Court set November 17th as the execution date for Kenneth Eugene Smith whose jury had recommended life without the possibility of parole by an 11-1 vote.. Talking Points are posted on our website http://www.phadp.org/?q=alerts as well as contact for Governor Ivey for letters, emails and calls. Please also sign the petition https://bit.ly/KennnethSmith from our friends at Death Penalty Action. As always we are doing all we can to be supportive of our brother who has an execution date, stopping by his cell for conversation and sharing food. Kenny continues to be is very appreciative of all the support he receives.

The latest legal development in Kenneth Smith’s case was that a federal judge dismissed his lawsuit which claimed that Alabama’s lethal injection protocol violates the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment in the Eight Amendment and also that the Alabama Department of Corrections violated his due process rights under the 14th Amendment because it did not give him the information necessary to knowingly waive his right to choose execution by nitrogen hypoxia instead of lethal injection when inmates had the opportunity to make that choice in 2018.

We discussed and very much appreciated an excellent article by Austin Sarat who is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College posted in Criminal Law. “Several Alabama and Florida judges who had presided over trials in the era when judicial override was legal argued in an amicus brief, “Executing defendants who were sentenced to death by judicial override does not comport with this country’s evolving standards of decency and would allow the consequences of an unreliable system to continue despite its unanimous rejection by every state.” And of course our question is why are there no signs of evolving standards of decency in this state?

As was mentioned last week the State wants to set Alan Miller another date as quickly as possible but The Alabama Supreme Court granted him more time to respond to the state’s latest request to schedule his execution. He now has until Oct. 25 to respond to the state’s motion to set an execution date, which the state filed on Oct. 4. Before the court granted Miller’s request for an extension, his response was due on Oct. 12.

We appreciated the new Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus, David Brazil, reaching out to us with concrete offers of support. Thank you, David!

We were delighted to hear from our friends at JAM that “we had a good (though small) workshop - around a dozen folks all told. Preaching to the choir, but that was the point of this one, to educate people already sympathetic. Hopefully it will get us some more vigilers, letter writers, and even some speaking….The letters from the men were well received; we put them out on the sign in table for people to read. Please thank them for us, it was a good reminder to everyone that it's not just "an issue", it's people!” Yes, we are people and we so appreciate how Justice and Mercy supports us!

In closing and as always, we continue to thank all our generous donors who either gave by going to our website and using the “donate” button or who gave directly. Thank you also to all who took the time to read our notes, commented, liked and shared them on Facebook. You encourage us and make all the difference. Stay safe!

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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 10.19.22