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.”
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Alabama Death Row Inmate Set for Execution Today Requests Stay from Alabama Supreme Court

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama death row inmate, 74-year-old Thomas Arthur, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection today at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. But his attorneys have asked the Alabama Supreme Court for a stay or vacation of his execution.

Arthur’s attorneys filed the petition to stay or vacate on Tuesday, two days before his set execution date, because they say the constitutionality of Alabama’s death penalty laws remains in question.
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Ward calls for security cameras in Alabama prisons

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), chair of the prison oversight committee, has called for security increases  to reduce inmate abuse in Alabama prisons. A lack of security cameras, coupled with understaffing and overcrowding of Alabama’s prisons has lead to several instances of alleged inmate abuse in recent years.

This past legislative session, the legislature granted a $16.7 million budget increase for Alabama Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas to make security improvements and hire 100 more correctional officers.
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Non-profit moves to force investigation of Tutwiler

Staff Report

A nonprofit legal firm says it will sue the Alabama Department of Corrections if the U.S. Department of Justice decides not to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by correctional officers at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative released a report last month that found DOC employees had illegal sexual contact with dozens of women at the Wetumpka facility. The report also said the official responses to these reports of abuse have created an atmosphere of intimidation that discourages future complaints.
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