Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison, 2.24.16
The headlines in the Alabama Political Reporter “Brewbaker Sponsors Historic Innocence Commission” certainly also made headlines at our meeting. We discussed S.B. 237 filed by Senator Brewbaker R. Montgomery and cosponsored by Senators Hightower, Whatley, Stutts, Marsh, Reed, Ward, Smitherman and Figures, in other words a bipartisan bill. Senator Hank Sanders stated that he would support this bill although he would have preferred a 3 year moratorium. The bill is scheduled to have its first committee hearing today. As we are not attorneys we do not want to discuss the ins and outs of this bill although we would like to quote 2 Sections from it:
Section 12. There shall be a moratorium on all
executions in the State of Alabama until June 1, 2017.
Section 13. This act shall become effective on the
first day of the third month following its passage and
approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.
It is a carefully crafted bill and anyone hoping to qualify for consideration from the Innocence Commission will need to carefully consider all angles with his attorney. Meanwhile we appreciate that Anthony Ray Hinton’s exoneration has obviously proved to be a reality check for death penalty supporters. What if he had been executed while being without a doubt innocent? And how about those 30 years of his life which the State took?
In light of the potential of S.B. 237 we are especially grateful that Board members and those attending the law classes will have the opportunity to brainstorm about the bill and actually read it. We have some excellent jailhouse lawyers to guide us.
"The commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill,' has absolute value, and concerns both the innocent and the guilty," Pope Francis said Sunday, urging that the death penalty be abolished.
He stated "All Christians and people of good will are called today to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty, but also in order to improve prison conditions, in respect for human dignity of persons deprived of liberty."
Speaking the day before an international convention for the abolition of death penalty is set to begin in Rome, Francis appealed to the conscience of world leaders to work toward an international consensus to abolish capital punishment.” Although we understand the separation of church and state and the aversion to being admonished from someone from abroad, we hope that the above statement will at least give the Catholic Justices pause in their support of the death penalty.
Meanwhile we are starting to get ready for the next edition of Wings of Hope. Every member of phadp has his role to play, some large, some small. What is important is that everyone does his part.
See you next week!