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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.26.17

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 4.26.17

The Talking Point for both Tommy Arthur, May 25th and Robert Melson, June 8th are up on our website at http://wwwphadp.org/?q=alerts as well as on our Facebook page.  We will also be sending them out and so we beg you if you ever wrote on behalf of any of us to previous Alabama governors or if you are a new friend, now is the time to write, email and to call. Tommy Arthur’s latest appeal based on the Sixth Circuit federal appeals court blocking Ohio from using its lethal injection method, which is almost identical to one used in Alabama, was denied on Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court without comment.

We were more than fortunate when Dr. Katie Owens-Murphy of North Alabama State University found us. Here is a direct quote on the Nitrogen gas bill in an interview at http://www.waff.com/story/35214917/alabama-senate-passes-new-execution-method “Katie Owens-Murphy, vice president of Project Say Something, said we need to look back at the history of executions and the process of it itself. She said the methods are masking the larger conversations that we need to have. “It's another example of inmates being used for experimental guinea pigs or lab rats, so it’s a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment. We are quite literally experimenting on people who were not sentenced to death and torture but were sentenced to death," Owens-Murphy said. “ And this is not all because the reporter of the above piece told Dr. Owens-Murphy that she would call her on death penalty related issues for “the alternate perspective.” Thank you!

On Monday the US Supreme Court considered what exactly a thirty-one years ago ruling meant when it said that a defendant who can show that his mental health is likely to play an important role at trial is entitled to help from a psychiatrist if he cannot afford it and in particular, whether it makes clear that the psychiatrist must be independent of the prosecution. It is the case of James McWilliams currently on Alabama death row and a decision is expected late June.

House Judiciary Cmte passed HB260 (the Fair Justice Act last week), but since SB187 has some differences, they are holding a public hearing today. Thank you to all who contacted their legislators and asked them to vote NO on this very unfair Fair Justice Act!

Last October we were delighted to be contacted by the president of Students for Life at Spring Hill College in Mobile asking for our help in putting on an event focusing on the death penalty. As Mobile is relatively close to Atmore this gave our Board the opportunity to be actively involved in selecting and soliciting a speaker from among those men who do pastoral work on death row. The event took place recently and was not only well attended but there was also lots of audience participation in the form of question and answers. Our thanks to David Wiggins who made this happen!

Esther will be attending the Alabama State Conference Quarterly Meeting in Selma on Saturday.

See you next week!