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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.4.20

                          Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 11.4.20

Today is the day after the election although things are by no means over! And so today, the election was definitely a big topic of discussion. We like most of the individuals we talk with are glad that it is over. So much venom, so much ugliness and surely hardly what democracy is all about! There are questions in the press whether this country can heal but we would question instead whether we were ever “one nation united.” For many of us it certainly never felt that way!

Last week the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted habeas corpus relief to William Marshall, holding that Marshall’s trial counsel provided ineffective representation when they failed to present any mitigating evidence to spare their client’s life. This ruling was specific to Marshall’s case.

The cost of death penalty trials is one of the powerful arguments against the death penalty although this is not widely understood by the man in the street. At this point it is local prosecutors who make capital charging decisions. As a way of holding them accountable for the additional costs UCLA law professor Sherod Thaxton proposed in a new chapter in the 2020 Oxford Handbook of Prosecutors and Prosecution, that states should establish advisory boards to issue opinions on whether the death penalty should be pursued in a particular case. If the prosecutor decides to seek death despite an adverse advisory recommendation, Thaxton proposed shifting the financial costs associated with the case to the local jurisdiction as a means to hold prosecutors financially accountable for their decisions. It seems like a win win idea financially as well as psychologically.

A significant part of what we as an organization believe to be part of our mission is to stand by men who are in legal jeopardy whether they belong to phadp or not. Either they seek us out for input or we invite them to attend a meeting to bring them up to date on relevant developments on the legal front. While we definitely do not recommend self representation we definitely do believe and know from experience that “your attorney is as good as you make her/him.”

In closing and as always, we continue to thank all our generous donors who either gave by going to our website and using the “donate” button or who gave directly. Thank you also to all who took the time to read our notes, commented, liked and shared them on Facebook. You encourage us and make all the difference. Please stay safe!        

                                                                                     Esther