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Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.20.19

Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.20.19

“A federal appeals court sided with news media organizations Monday in ruling that Alabama can't keep its lethal injection protocol secret from the public. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected Alabama's argument that its execution method is not a court record and thus should remain secret.” Apparently our execution method is the most secretive one in the country.

As mentioned last week and as we will continue to mention Christopher Lee Price has an execution date which is scheduled for 4.11.19.  Christopher Price is one of the men who failed to choose the new execution method of nitrogen gas last summer and so having exhausted his appeals became a candidate for execution. We have posted the Execution Alert on our website and it is up on our Facebook page as well.

The discussion at the Board meeting as well as in the Law Class continued to focus on why and how it happened that a little less than a third of the men at Holman signed on to nitrogen gas. Most of the ones who did sign on were represented by the Federal Defenders who refused to leave Holman until they had seen all of their clients. Why didn’t most of the others sign on? Alabama is the only state that does not provide post conviction representation which means that most are represented by pro-bono out of state attorneys. It is unrealistic to expect out of state attorneys to be constantly up on developments in Alabama. The men had 3 days to make up their minds whether to sign or not. And so first they had to try and get hold of their attorney, hope they reached him/her right away so that they could research the issue and advise whether to sign or not, get back to them, and all of that in 3 days? Just not realistic, just as it is not realistic that one would rush to sign a piece of paper issued by the state which is doing its best to kill one. Some felt that they were telling the state to kill them. Unfortunately that means that we are likely to see a string of executions of those who have exhausted their appeals and who did not sign on to nitrogen gas. We can only hope that this issue will be appealed and won.

The Board reviewed and was very enthusiastic about the recent statement about phadp written by Esther and Paul which is posted in the library and which will also be handed to new arrivals. As always after a new edition of our Wings of Hope the board went over it together and one topic discussed was that it serves little to be on the pity pot. It is counterproductive. Another topic was the lengthy and very encouraging letter received from Advisory Board Member Shelley Douglass in response to one of theirs. We are optimistic that there will be positive ways of working more closely with Pax Christi in light of the recent declarations of Pope Francis regarding the death penalty. The Board received an acceptance letter from Paul Labatte. It will be treasured! And finally death row has access to two new typewriters. Without going into details that is a biggie!

Around the country we are encouraged by the new abolition voices. This week in particular 2 prosecutors in Colorado and Nevada for different reasons call for abolition. Even though these are certainly not Alabamians, nor would we expect that, still little by little we hope Alabama will eventually be dragged into the 21st century.

Esther and Advisory Board Members Judy Collins and Shelley Douglass attended the Arise Lobby Day which was a great opportunity to network. And that we did.