Alabama’s death penalty system still in need of reforms to end injustices

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By Chris Sanders

Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden released the following statement Friday in response to Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement that an internal review of executions in Alabama has ended:

“All Alabamians deserve equal justice under the law. Unfortunately, the Department of Corrections’ internal review of the state’s execution process did not resolve many of the injustices that remain throughout our capital punishment system.

“The department still needs to pull back the curtains and provide greater public transparency on execution procedures. Legislators must do their part as well to reduce the unfairness of Alabama’s death penalty. An important first step would be retroactively applying the state’s 2017 ban on judicial override, a practice that allowed judges to impose death sentences despite a jury’s recommendation otherwise.

“Lawmakers also should require unanimous agreement from jurors to sentence someone to death. And Alabama should provide state funding for appeals of death sentences, as other states with capital punishment do.

“Our state’s death penalty is broken and should be abolished. Short of that, these policy changes would be important steps to reduce the inequities that pervade capital punishment in Alabama.”

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