The rare, bipartisan push to end judicial override in Alabama

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There was a rare show of bipartisanship during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting, and even rarer step taken to end a long-outdated practice.

A bill that would bring an end to judicial override – the power that only Alabama now grants judges to overturn the decisions of juries and sentence a defendant to death – passed through the committee with bipartisan support.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) now goes to the floor for a vote.
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General Fund uncertainty may hinder more criminal justice appropriations

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The Alabama Medicaid Agency isn’t the only part of the State government with funding issues, and uncertainty over the future of Medicaid is spilling over into other agencies’ funding as well.

The Alabama Legislature will begin its regular legislative session in just a few weeks. As lawmakers prepare, the session will bring another stint of debate over the State’s beleaguered General Fund budget, the budget that funds all noneducational agencies of the State government.

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Alabama judicial override safe from Supreme Court review

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to Alabama’s system of judicial override for the death penalty from several death-row inmates in the State.

In a list of orders on pending cases released Monday, the Court denied certiorari in the case of Thomas Arthur v. Alabama. Arthur and two other death-row inmates petitioned the high court in November to review Alabama’s death row laws.

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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.”
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