Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.14.21
Last week we discussed the law’s aversion to scientific/medical research and expertise. The opening lines of an article from Texas demonstrate the same aversion on a different issue, DNA testing: “A federal district court judge ruled in favor of death row inmate Ruben Gutierrez’s request for DNA testing in his case. Gutierrez’s attorneys expect the state to appeal that ruling.” Why one might ask, as did his attorney: “If he is so sure that Mr. Gutierrez’s conviction and death sentence are sound and that Mr. Gutierrez deserves to die, there can be no reason to continue to refuse our reasonable requests for this testing, which would be done automatically by law if this case happened today.” And no, it is not a question of finances. The Innocence Project when it takes up a case as it did with our former Chairman Darrell Grayson would have born the cost. This topic was also prompted by what appears to be positive news on this issue for one of our members which at this point is too early to be made public.
Arizona which is ready to restart executions was another topic of discussion. “ Arizona has finally obtained a lethal injection drug and is ready to resume executions after the difficulty of finding such drugs led to a nearly seven-year hiatus in carrying out the death penalty in the state, corrections officials said last Friday.” We wondered not only where the drug was found and the legality of transporting drugs across state lines but what it says about this purely negative kind of persistence.
To the news that Circuit Judge Tracie Todd a Jefferson County criminal judge has been temporarily removed from the bench after a scathing 100-plus page complaint filed against her by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and is charged with multiple incidents of abuse of judicial power and abandonment of the judicial role of detachment and neutrality we would simply quote Attorney General Merrick Garland: “Justice should be blind but not heartless.” In addition, justice should also keep up with the times, but then this is Alabama!
And finally on a more upbeat note we spoke about the success of our efforts to keep our brothers on the row informed about legal developments. How can we tell that this is the case? We have been contacted by several attorneys recently. And no, we don’t give legal advice but we are able to make helpful connections and that is gratifying for all of 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!