Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Courts

House committee passes bill cutting out appeals court in death penalty cases

STOCK

Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill preventing prisoners convicted to death from appealing their case to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

House Bill 275 was sponsored by State Representative Connie Rowe, R-Jasper.

“This bill was brought to me by the Lt Governor,” Will Ainsworth (R).

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Odenville, chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill, as amended “Removes the Court of Criminal Appeals from the process of appealing a death penalty case,” Chairman Hill said.

State Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the sponsor of the Senate version of this bill/

“You also have your federal appeals. You still have your rule 32 appeals,” Ward said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

State Representative Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, said, “I look at it in the point of getting it right. If they are in jail you can always get them out of jail if a mistake is made. You always want to be right with death. If you remove the court of criminal appeals you increase the likelihood of not getting it right. I am not for skipping this stage in matters where a life is at stake.”

“Looking at the records this one step appears to be redundant,” Ward said.

State Representative Alan Farley, R-McCalla, said, “We have people on death row for twenty, twenty five years. We are talking about removing one step in the criminal appeals. How many appeals are we talking about?”

Ward answered, “I can make that same trek multiple times on different procedural issues. There are several fail safes in there. There even was a stay of execution issued in the last execution.”

Farley sai, “we are not talking about one or two times. It is more like 18 times.”

State Representative Mike Ball, R-Madison, said, “There is a redundancy in the system. This cuts out a step in the procedure. The original bill, cutting out the Supreme Court, did not make any sense. All this does is remove a step from the process that does not add anything to the process.”

Rowe said that this would take two years out of the process. In 1988 a Walker country woman killed in her house. He father and mother died waiting on justice. Now her sister has passed. She has some nieces and nephews left. How long do we go without justice?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“Historically when someone is exonerated in this state it is at the federal court system,” Rowe said. “Lets get them there faster.”

Rep. David Faulker, R-Mountain Brook, said, “This eliminates the delay.”

The amended bill was given a favorable report and now can advance for consideration by the full Alabama House of Representatives.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

More from the Alabama Political Reporter

Elections

Judge McCool was elected as a Republican in November 2018 for a six-year term on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

Prisons

The ACLU is criticizing Ivey for proposing that the state be granted more time to carry out certain executions.

Prisons

Ivey suggested "death warrants" be extended past the 24-hour window when the process is delayed by a stay of execution.

Legislature

Hill said the state needs to focus on keeping dangerous individuals incarcerated while improving rehabilitation and release of others.

Featured Opinion

By contradicting Ivey on the execution moratorium, Marshall made clear that respect for decency and law aren't important to him.

Prisons

Marshall said he supports Ivey's review of the state's procedures, but said the death penalty cannot be indefinitely put on pause as victim's seek...

Prisons

Advocacy groups took issue with Ivey's messaging, but welcomed the halt on executions with the opportunity for reform.

Prisons

The governor asked the attorney general not to seek additional executions for other incarcerated people until after "a top-to-bottom review."