Ending Judicial Override: Gov. Kay Ivey’s first signature

April 12, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — The first bill Gov. Kay Ivey signed after becoming Governor Monday evening was a bill that will put an end to Judicial Override in capital punishment. The bill will now become law.

Ivey signed her first act, Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Dick Brewbaker in the Senate and Rep. Chris England, in her office Tuesday. When the act becomes law, a judge will no longer be able to override a jury to impose the death penalty in capital murder cases.

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The end to judicial override in Alabama is imminent

April 5, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s death penalty sentencing system, which allows judges to override a jury’s recommendation for life in prison, may soon be changing to put the Yellowhammer State in line with all other states that allow capital punishment.

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s recommendation on the death penalty through a process known as judicial override. Under the bill passed Tuesday, sponsored by Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery, in the Senate and Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, in the House, a jury will have the final say on whether a defendant receives the death penalty.

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Let judicial override be gone forever

April 5, 2017

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Most readers know that I oppose the death penalty. I don’t believe the State should ever take something from somebody it can’t make right.

When the State kills a person, the State can’t take that back. The person is dead.

I understand and, indeed, agree that there are crimes that deserve a death penalty. It’s simply that just because somebody deserves to die for his crimes doesn’t mean he should die for his crimes in a State-sanctioned execution.
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House expected to vote Tuesday on bill to end judicial override

April 4, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s House of Representatives, on its first day back from spring break, is expected to take up a bill that would end the State’s judicial override sentencing system.

On Tuesday, the House is expected to begin debate, and maybe vote, on the bill sponsored by Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa. England’s bill would prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s recommended sentence of life to impose the death sentence instead.

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The absurd world of politics

March 1, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Let me tell you about politics.

Early Tuesday afternoon, as the Alabama Legislature was about to start up its fourth week of work, there was the usual mishmash of people milling around inside and outside of the State House.

Conservative and Liberal groups. Lobbyists by the dozen. There was a pro-life rally. Arise Alabama was having its Legislative Day, with members walking the halls and speaking to lawmakers.
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Bill to end judicial override in Alabama clears Senate

February 24, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A bill that would end Alabama’s judicial override sentencing system, which allows judges to override juries and impose the death penalty, passed the State Senate Thursday with a near-unanimous vote.

Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), sponsored the bill, which would prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s sentence. Under the bill, at least 10 of 12 jurors must vote for death for a defendant to receive the sentence.

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The rare, bipartisan push to end judicial override in Alabama

February 16, 2017

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

January 26, 2017

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

January 24, 2017

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

January 11, 2017

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

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