Alabama’s Last Execution Was An Atrocity

October 28, 2016

By Stephen Cooper
Alabama Political Reporter

The last time Alabama played God, executing death row inmate Christopher Brooks by lethal injection on January 21, 2016, The Montgomery Advertiser and al.com published a column of mine in which I wrote:

“Initial reports out of Alabama are that the execution went as ‘smoothly’ as killing a reasonably healthy 43-year-old man can go. In any event, it appears there was no visible evidence Brooks suffered bodily distress as the lethal drugs were administered, prompting Alabama Prison Commissioner Jeff Dunn to say that the execution with the controversial sedative drug midazolam ‘went exactly as planned[.]” (See Executions are hardly an exact science, on February 8, 2016, and Courts denied phone to attorneys of man condemned to death, on February 9, 2016).

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Alabama’s Holman Prison is Hell on Earth

October 24, 2016

By Stephen Cooper

Since opening its doors on December 15, 1969, Alabama’s William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, has been a bastion of violence, fear, pain and baleful human suffering.

Built on a shoestring budget of five million dollars during Governor Lurleen Wallace’s administration, it took just five years for Holman prison’s perpetually overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary conditions to draw the ire of Federal officials. In an article titled, “Court closes Alabama prison gates,” dated August 30, 1975. The St. Petersburg Times (now The Tampa Bay Times), in neighboring Florida, reported that two Federal district court judges, William Brevard Hand and Frank M. Johnson, Jr., ordered Alabama to stop sending prisoners to Holman (and three other prisons) due to overcrowding and the accompanying inhumanity, violence and other perils that brings.
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Bentley’s Op-Ed Proves He’s Delusional

May 11, 2016

By Stephen Cooper

In an op-ed for al.com dated May 9, 2016, Governor Robert Bentley declares he has no “intention of being a caretaker governor.”

Bad news for Bentley: His insistence that he won’t to be relegated to the sidelines during the remainder of his time in office as a “caretaker” governor is not only poignantly pathetic, it’s a whiny, plaintive, petulant protestation nobody believes.

Moreover, while everyone gets what Bentley’s op-ed unpersuasively tried to say, that Bentley would go out of his way to distance himself from the role of a “caretaker” should come as no surprise to Alabamians (or anyone else) following the reality-tv-style high jinks Bentley’s salacious, self-serving tenure will forever be remembered for.
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Eight $100 million ideas for prison reform in Alabama

May 4, 2016

By Stephen Cooper

Instead of wrapping an $800 million ($1.5 billion over 30 years) albatross around the necks of Alabamians to build four new “super-max” style prisons, here are eight $100 million dollar ideas, each of which, I respectfully submit, are more efficient and morally sound ways to tackle Alabama’s prison problems:

1. Write a check for $100 million right now and give it to attorney Bryan Stevenson and his organization, The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Everyone knows that if this ill-advised prison construction plan continues its dizzying flight forward that, when it goes bad, it will be EJI who will ring the alarm bell — as they’ve done before, through the filing of federal lawsuits. Why wait? Why not go ahead and give EJI $100 million bucks right now together with a mandate to use that dough to implement the many, many prison reforms it has been calling for, for many, many years?
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Clemency in Alabama is a Farce

April 25, 2016

By Stephen Cooper

In about two weeks, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley — himself a desperate cartoonish candidate for clemency from the people of Alabama (who he has so profoundly betrayed) — will be the sole arbiter of clemency for Mr. Vernon Madison, an African-American death row inmate; On May 12, Mr. Madison is scheduled to be executed in the death chamber at Holman Prison, in Atmore, Alabama, for his 1985 conviction for the murder of a Mobile police officer.
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