Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.6.16
We are always on the lookout for ways to reach out and make a difference. The population highest on our list and dear to our heart is at risk youth. After all, we were there and know the dangers and challenges for that group. One could say that we are the experts! In 2002 a subgroup of our organization, Creepin Death, put out a booklet which was a Youth Outreach Program. Along the way, it was placed in the hands of youth leaders, among others, the Selma group Century 21. We are in the process of reediting the booklet.
We are encouraged by the founding of a new group PSODP, Public Safety Officials on the Death Penalty, “dedicated to elevating the voices of public safety officials who are prepared to discuss and explore alternative ways to achieve a more just and effective safety system.” Members include beat cops, police chiefs, district attorneys, state attorney generals and former head of state DOC. Although the group takes no official stand on the death penalty they are all concerned about the fairness and efficacy of the death penalty. From where we stand, anyone who is willing to do that honestly cannot remain in doubt that the death penalty and fairness and efficacy cannot be mentioned in the same sentence, and so we are hopeful. All voices matter! And on this topic closer to home, Esther had lunch with retired Police Chief Leon Frazier who was the first Alabama law enforcement member to sign on to our moratorium drive. We very much appreciate his support over the years.
A major and all too frequent injustice inherent in our application of the death penalty was illustrated once more this week by the denial of the Kuenzel appeal by the Alabama Supreme Court due to a missed date filing application. This is not a unique event but surely it is a travesty to punish an individual for his attorney’s lack of due diligence? We are aware of more than one case where this has happened, but don’t see any attempt on the part of the state to fix this. We remain the only state that does not provide post conviction representation and we remember our past chairman Darrell B. Grayson who at trial was represented by a divorce attorney!
Vernon Madison May 12th execution date remains active. Madison's attorney in February filed a motion seeking to stop his execution, saying Madison suffers "from significant cognitive decline, acute mental health disorders, and severe medical problems that render him incompetent to be executed." A Mobile County judge has set an April 14 competency hearing for Madison. Meanwhile you can continue to write the Governor and will find the Talking Points by clicking on: http://www.phadp.org/?q=alerts. The Francophones have a petition up in French on their page on behalf of Vernon Madison. Our thanks to all!
See you next week!