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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison, 1.20.16

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison, 1.20.16

Christopher Brooks’ petition for an emergency stay, so that he could be part of the Midazolam litigation in April, was denied by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals.  This petition is now before the US Supreme Court. The petition to the Alabama Supreme Court asking for a stay based on the recent ruling by the US Supreme Court which found the Florida sentencing scheme (similar to ours) unconstitutional was also denied.


Following up on the Florida US Supreme Court ruling last week, the attorneys for Christopher Brooks filed an appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court asking for a stay. To quote from a blog in the Huff Post, written by Stephen Cooper and published on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:”I was part of the same group of attorneys now working their butts off and fighting their hearts out to spare their client, Christopher Brooks, from a lethal injection this coming Thursday, January 21, 2016, at Holman Prison, in Atmore, Alabama. This cadre of dedicated lawyers has exercised every legal challenge possible, they have petitioned the governor of Alabama for clemency (which seems unlikely since only one governor in Alabama has ever granted clemency before -- when a lame duck governor granted it to a white woman), and they are desperately hoping for a stay of Mr. Brooks' execution. In their court filings, they have argued that Brooks' execution will violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and specifically, that the drugs Alabama seeks to use to execute Mr. Brooks with will make him "feel like he is being buried alive," and, "cause a massive heart attack after burning him alive from the inside." We of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty appreciate them for all they do which goes way beyond writing and filing appeals.

 It appears that Judge Watkins is not going to rule on Thomas Arthur’s hearing last week which challenged the constitutionality of Alabama’s death penalty protocol until after the 21st January. This, despite the fact that Judge Watkins had previously indicated that Christopher Brooks could potentially benefit from a ruling. Disappointing is an understatement!

The Board held its first execution vigil this morning and the attendance was good. A timely topic was the importance of working with one’s attorney: your attorney is as good as you make him/her! Another vigil will be held tomorrow.

We thank all who are continuing to call the Governor’s office, posting on his page, tweeting and being The Other Voice! We have so many great people, including Senator Hank Sanders to whom we owe so much, and organizations on board! Together we can do it!

See you next week,
Esther