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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 6.14.17

Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 6.14.17

A somber meeting where we remembered Little Rob and discussed the horror of one more botched execution.

"I don't think there is any questions that there was something that was not right," said Christine Freeman, the executive director of the Federal Defenders Program in Montgomery, who witnessed the execution. "There is no question that midazolam is really problematic," she said.
Melson's hands and arms quivered and shook against the restraints at 9:59 p.m. His breathing appeared to become labored, with his chest moving up and down, before slowing until it was no longer perceptible by 10:09 p.m.

It is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the injustice, the evil we see in the state, its cruelty. Therefore we believe it is all the more important to lift up the good. We were touched by the statement by one of the investigators of the Federal Defenders who was with little Rob until the end: “he never lost his dignity”. Most of us do not know what it is like to get to know someone and then share his last hours with him, the roller coaster of stays and the lifting of stays, and to go through all of this not with just one person but many and to do this by choice. We are grateful to the attorneys/investigators and all who work for the Federal Defenders not only for their expertise but also for their kindness.

We keep this in mind when we hear the statement made by the Attorney General at the time of the execution that although at this time there are no other dates the state does have the lethal injection drugs to schedule these. Not classy to put it mildly!

We welcomed the article in al.com by Avery Livingston:  “Ignoring those who cannot pay: Addressing inadequate defense for indigent defendants.” Although it does not specifically address capital cases this is a particularly grievous issue which was not remedied by the recent unfair Fair Justice Act which raised the fee paid to attorneys. Not only is the fee still woefully inadequate but it does not address the past criminal shortcomings in the defense of those currently on death row and those already executed. The Board is compiling a list of those who missed important filing deadlines because of inadequate representation, just one aspect of this issue.

 Esther attended the Alabama New South Coalition Spring Membership Convention and brought Greetings from our organization to the group. We are a proud member of this organization and are so grateful for its support and that of its President Emeritus Senator Hank Sanders who encourages us to keep hope alive through action. We thank you for your example and your actions.

See you next week!