Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.23.16
We dislike having to begin with a piece of negative news but a couple of days ago we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court won't hear an inmate's claim that Alabama's death sentence law is unconstitutional. It was the first Alabama death penalty appeal to reach the Supreme Court on this issue since Hurst was decided on Jan. 12, and strengthens the position of the Attorney General that our sentencing “scheme” is constitutional. However this will not be the last appeal of its kind!
Last week we commented on the Enlightenment group and we would like to also lift up our other groups which are well attended. In light of recent events we would also like to say that when prisoners join us at Holman, part of the orientation consists in briefing them on our opposition to violence. We respect the right of individuals to make choices, but if one seeks membership in our organization, choosing violence is not an option.
Last week was Public Defenders Day and we took the opportunity to thank our hardworking and dedicated attorneys who represent us pro-bono as Alabama is the only state in the nation that does not provide post-conviction representation. Please know that we do not take you for granted and are very grateful for your dedication and expertise!
If you have wondered, we are kept up to date on death penalty news around the country by Advisory Board member Robert Wilson who downloads and mails us an information packet on a weekly basis. We very much appreciate his labor of love. We also see emails sent to the office as well as the various postings on our face book page, something that did not exist when most of us came to Holman. And there is no doubt that we are better informed on the death penalty than we were on the street. A case in point about the efficacy of the death penalty acting as a deterrent! The man on the street does not give any thought to the death penalty which is also one of the reasons why it is difficult to abolish it.
We close with this piece of good news: “On Friday, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously ordered a new trial for EJI client Derek Horton, who was convicted and sentenced to death after Mobile County prosecutors improperly presented irrelevant and prejudicial facts to the jury.”
We all send you best Easter wishes
See you next week!