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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.18.20

                   Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 3.18.20

 

Last week a bill to remove one level of appeals in death penalty cases won approval in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee. The legislation, by Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, would send death penalty case appeals directly to the Alabama Supreme Court, skipping the Court of Criminal Appeals. The week before this bill had won approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The rational for the bill given by the Lt Governor and introduced by Senator Cam Ward was the deaths of police officers. It must be pointed out that multiple studies show that the death penalty is no deterrent for murder. What this bill would however do as pointed out by Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Farley, who voted against the bill, is to discriminate against indigent defendants for who the Criminal Appeals Court step is important because it’s one of those to which an indigent defendant has a right to legal representation.

To get some informed perspective on this bill we quote Attorney John Palombi of the Federal Public Defenders who we rely on as our number one source for expert and dedicated help.”They have to provide a level of appeal to be constitutional. Most states make capital appeals directly appealable to the Supreme Court of the state. HOWEVER, those states have statewide public defender offices, have public defenders who do nothing but death penalty work, and also have attorneys who do post conviction work. Alabama has neither. The Supreme Court pointed this out in Maples v. Thomas. Alabama needs two levels of appellate review because it does not provide the same resources that the states that only provide one level do.”

Our respect and admiration for Pamela Woods, Nathaniel Woods’ sister who not only fought for him while he was still living but who last week confronted Governor Ivey at a press conference with the words: “You killed my brother and he was innocent.”

Our Chairman welcomed the death row transfers from Donaldson who were eager to learn all about our organization.

Our latest edition of our newsletter Wings of Hope is now at the printer and will be on its way to you shortly. We hope you will find it motivates you to BE THE OTHER VOICE!

And finally we are proud to share the following from our Student Representative Petra Jackson in her final semester at University of Vermont who posted the following on her page: “It takes a village...

If the school closures have you concerned about any child not being able to eat breakfast or lunch please let me know. I will do what I can to help. A box of cereal, gallon of milk, bread, pb/j- just let me know. Feel free to DM- no judgement!

Copy and paste if you can help those in need. Location: Burlington, VT”

So let’s be there for one another in these difficult times where ever we are because we all can make a difference in our corner!

 

                                                                                                                 Esther