Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.10.21

We continue to follow the fallout from the botched execution of John Grant in OK. We applauded the press for calling the execution what is was: botched and were not surprised that according to the OK DOC all had gone according to plan. Of course, John Grant was dead! Besides the fact that AL also uses lethal injection we noted with interest that the experts agreed that it would not have been possible for just one journalist to document all that went wrong. When Willie B. Smith was executed the DOC allowed only one journalist to be present and it was the attorney who provided the details of what really happened.

We received the following email from a supporter and I quote in part: “I wanted to alert you to a newly published book, SUMMARY JUDGMENT, set in Alabama, written by Donald Cameron Clark, a Chicago lawyer who volunteered to be counsel in a post conviction proceeding in the 1980s through the American Bar Association death penalty project. I was asked to be local counsel together with Don and his then law partner, Luke DeGrand. Together we represented Tommy Hamilton who had been convicted and sentenced to death in Lawrence County. After about 10 years of work in and out of courts, we were successful in winning Tommy’s release from death row. As I read about Willie Smith and his case, there were hauntingly similar facts to Tommy’s case – violence at the hands of an abusive father, low IQ, and very inexperienced trial counsel.”

We are reading and discussing Summary Judgment. Not only is it of interest because so many of us are represented by an out of state por-bono attorney but because it also highlights the importance of an out of state attorney having local competent counsel. All too many don’t and many of our out of state attorneys have been inaccessible to us even by phone since the Covid epidemic. Just how important it is to also have someone on the ground in Alabama was also demonstrated by the recent response by an out of state attorney to his client who had made him aware of the exclusion of the Equal Protection Clause from the Alabama Constitution: “I am not up on Alabama law!” No wonder we always say your attorney is as good as you make him/her!”

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 and wear a mask!


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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.10.21