Death to judicial override

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

During my years as an editorial writer for The Birmingham News, I spent much of that time opposed to the death penalty. The death penalty should be abolished; clearly, innocent people have been killed by the State of Alabama. A number have been released from Death Row after being exonerated at some point, barely dodging the electric chair or, now, the needle.

Eventually, my colleagues and I wrote a week-long series telling readers why The News was changing its position on the death penalty. We explained our reason for transforming from a newspaper that supported the death penalty into one that now strongly opposed it. Read More

Brewbaker bill will end judicial override in capital murder cases

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In Alabama, even when a jury recommends someone only receive life in prison, a trial judge in a capital murder case can ignore that recommendation and impose the death penalty. Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) wants to change this practice, known as “judicial override.”

“The US Supreme Court has made it pretty clear that they do not like it and think this is a bad practice,” said Brewbaker in a phone interview with The Alabama Political Reporter. “Now that Delaware and Florida have gotten rid of it, Alabama is the only state that still practices it.”
Read More

Brewbaker Sponsor’s Historic Innocence Commission

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—State Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) has introduced a bipartisan-sponsored bill that would create an Innocence Inquiry Commission.

In 2002, North Carolina was the first state to establish an Innocence Commission to rehear cases where the accused and their advocates claim wrongful conviction.

dick-brewbakerNorth Carolina created its commission after several people in high-profile cases had been wrongly convicted.

“The reason I filed this bill is that Alabama is one of several states that have active death penalty statutes. Other states like North Carolina and Texas that have active death penalty statutes, have found it useful to establish these innocence commissions,” said Brewbaker.
Read More

Strange Blasts US Supreme Court Ruling

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

For decades, in serious cases, Alabama Courts have allowed prosecutors to trial juvenile defendants as adults. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that it was cruel and unusual punishment to execute persons for crimes committed when they were under 18 years of age. Now that has been expanded to include life sentences. On Monday, January 25, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) blasted a US Supreme Court decision to allow potentially thousands of convicted murderers across the country, currently serving life without parole, to receive new sentences because they were juveniles at the time they committed their crimes.
Read More

Byrne Comments on Pope’s Address to Congress

 

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, September 24, Pope Francis addressed a rare joint session of both Houses of the US Congress.  Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) issued a statement in response to Pope Francis’s speech to the joint session of Congress.

US Representative Byrne said, “As one of the most influential moral leaders in the world, it was an honor to welcome Pope Francis to the Capitol for today’s historic address.  I was pleased Pope Francis addressed a number of important issues like the need to support pro-life policies and stand up for traditional families. I also share the Pope’s concerns about helping Americans who remain stuck in poverty. I believe the time has come to once again reform our nation’s welfare programs to ensure they are actually helping the Americans who need them the most.”
Read More

ACLU of Alabama Challenges the Proposed “Fair Justice Act”

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY—The ACLU of Alabama, Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty in Alabama, the NAACP, and the Equal Justice Initiative confronted a Joint House and Senate hearing today regarding the proposed “Fair Justice Act” that would erroneously accelerate the death penalty appeals process and create greater room for serious judicial error.

“Bill supporters claim that the current appeals process takes a long time.  It is true.  It does take a long time.  But that time is absolutely necessary to ensure that mistakes aren’t made and more innocent people aren’t slaughtered,” said Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama.
Read More

Strange Qualifies for Reelection, Talks With Us About Issues

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Qualifying for State office began early on Monday, January 13, 2014. Numerous candidates have paraded through Alabama Republican Party Headquarters in Hoover to file the necessary paperwork to run as Republicans in the June 3 Republican Primary.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) was one of the first candidates to qualify. Attorney General Strange is seeking a second term as Alabama’s Attorney General. The Alabama Political Reporter asked the Attorney General if marijuana legalization would help the prison overcrowding situation that faces state government. AG Strange said that he did not think that would help the State’s situation.  Strange said that marijuana and other drug legalization would only lead to more problems. “The Colorado experiment will ultimately backfire,” the Attorney General said.
Read More

Birmingham Attorney Richard Jaffe Comments on Executions of the Retarded

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ recently discussed the status of the death penalty with attorney Richard Jaffe. Jaffe is one of Alabama’s leading criminal defense attorneys, particularly in death penalty cases.

Mr. Jaffe said that in the 2002 case of Atkins versus the State of Virginia the U.S. Supreme Court has banned the executions of prisoners who are “mentally retarded” as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ in a 6-3 decison.
Read More

Prominent Attorney and Author Asks Bentley to Pardon Scottsboro Boys

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Prominent Birmingham criminal defense attorney Richard S Jaffe is asking Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to pardon the Scottsboro boys who remain unpardoned. Mr. Jaffe is part of a team of lawyers who are working on pardons for the Scottsboro boys who still have this rape conviction on their Alabama criminal records. Jaffe agreed to be interviewed by ‘The Alabama Political Reporter.’

In 1931, nine black boys (the youngest was 13 at the time) were hastily convicted in Scottsboro, Alabama of gang raping two white girls (Victoria Price and Ruby Bates) aboard a freight train and sentenced to death by electrocution. The absurd manner in which the trial was conducted drew national attention for the callous disregard of any notion of a fair trial. The boys were indicted by the grand jury just five days after their arrests. The trial convened seven days later and 8 or the 9 were convicted the next day (the case of the 9th ended in a mistrial). The defendants were later re-tried in Decatur and again convicted, even though one of the victims (Ruby Bates) later recanted her story and admitted perjury. None of the boys were ever executed although they endured years in the then very harsh world of the Alabama prison system. Legal scholars agree that the boys likely were not guilty of the charges and clearly the trials were not fair by any standards.
Read More

Author and Criminal Defense Attorney Opposes Death Penalty

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Richard S. Jaffe is the Senior Partner of the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Jaffe & Drennan, P.C.  Mr. Jaffe specializes in the areas of criminal defense and especially cases involving the death penalty.  He is currently advocating ending the death penalty in Alabama and the United States while also promoting his book, ‘Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned.’

Mr. Jaffe has been a criminal trial lawyer for 36 years and has been board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Specialist since 1984.  Jaffe is listed in both Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers of America.  In 2012 he was named among the top 50 lawyers in Alabama, by Best Lawyers of America. He is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Georgia, New York, and Washington, DC.
Read More

© Copyright 2016 Alabama Political Reporter