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Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 9.22.21

          Weekly Report from the Board Meeting at Holman Prison 9.22.21

As already reported the Alabama Supreme Court set an October 21st execution date for Willie B. Smith who has an IQ below 75.Talking Points for letter to the Governor: http://www.phadp.org/?q=alerts. Petition at: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-execution-of-willie-smith-in-alabama?source=direct_link&

Citing COVID concerns, #Alabama to limit press access to October execution of #WillieBSmithIII. One would think if it's not safe enough for the media to witness an execution, it's not safe enough to conduct an execution.

We very much appreciate those who have already written to Governor Ivey on behalf of Willie B. Smith and signed the petition and urge those who haven’t to do so. Some of his brothers on death row, the men who know Willie best are also writing to the Governor on his behalf. We hope she will hear them and intend to keep news relating to his date on top of our Weekly Report.

One of our topics at our meeting was the timely article “Justices' Misplaced Priorities in Reviewing Capital Cases” by Kenneth Jost in Jost on Justice which is listed among the top legal blogs by the ABA Journal. We quote the closing sentence which definitely couldn’t be more on point: “ After considering Ramirez’s religious freedom claim, the justices would do well to give just as much attention to their responsibility to guard against legal errors in capital trials and sentencings rather than brush those issues aside.” But that is exactly what they do as we have seen again and again and which is also the concern in Willie B. Smith’s case. To quote Sotomayor  “This Court has consistently rejected inmates’ credible claims for relief," she wrote. "The Court has even intervened to lift stays of execution that lower courts put in place, thereby ensuring those prisoners’ challenges would never receive a meaningful airing.” We also discussed whether life time appointments can be part of a democracy and we wondered about age related mandatory retirement in reference to Justice Breyer’s recent interview where he refused to answer the question regarding his retirement.

Our thanks to our representatives at the upcoming Alabama Arise meeting on September 25 and to all our friends whose vote we are counting on to help end the death penalty in Alabama.

On the brighter side we were honored once again by the inclusion of our Weekly Notes in the online monthly newsletter “The Revealer” published by Leon E. “Chief” Frazier of Tuskeegee. Apart from our long standing friendship we believe that Chief’s voice is not only also The Other Voice to quote our mandate but a voice of singular importance. Anyone interested in receiving this amazing newsletter can contact Chief at lfrazier999@gmail.com.

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. Stay safe and wear a mask!        

                                                                                                           Esther