Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 1:51 AM
Subject: NEWS: Alabama

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 2002, The Decatur Daily

Pryor urges fairness, truth in sentencing in address
<<First readers and listeners must understand that "truth in sentencing" means that the convicted must serve a minimum of 85% of the time given to him/her by the court.  This eliminates "fairness" when (1) new laws now demand harsher sentencing with LONGER terms than ever before, and (2) when there is so much prosecutorial misconduct in our courtrooms.>>
             
By Patrice Stewart                                
DAILY Staff Writer                       
pstewart@decaturdaily.com                         


Alabama needs fair, truthful and rational sentencing,
the state's attorney general told the Kiwanis Club of
Decatur on Thursday.
<<This is a totally correct statement.  This is indeed what Alabama needs.  With FAIR, TRUTHFUL and RATIONAL sentencing, the problem of prison overcrowding will disappear.>>
                         
Bill Pryor said that, while he's made progress during
his 5 years in office in areas such as streamlining
appellate review of capital punishment cases, he still
needs to do more.
<<After saying the above about fair, truthful and rational sentencing, Bill Pryor contradicts himself in the next few words.  Streamlining appellate review of capital punishment cases is his "code word" for rushing these cases through the courts so that executions may take place more rapidly.  His statement has nothing to do with FAIR, TRUTHFUL and RATIONAL sentencing.  Listeners and readers who do not know what these code words mean, are bound to think Bill Pryor is saying good things.  In truth what he is saying is "more of the same - only harsher and faster".  Yes, he has made progress in the last 5-1/2 years in making it virtually impossible for a prisoner to win an appeal.  Listeners and readers need to understand that the Alabama court system is DESIGNED for the defendant to fail, no matter how strong their case is.  Cases are not reviewed on the merits.  They are seldom reviewed on Constitutional violations.  More often than not, they are precluded from even being reviewed because Alabama has a rule called Rule 32.  That rule prevents justice.  Want proof?  Sure...
 
Alabama Rule 32 [different from Federal Rule 32 or other state's Rule 32] says the following, where the dicta of Rule 32.2(a) is considered - alone - without any consideration of any other portions of the Rule 32, then the direct appeal decision would constitute the one and only review proceeding available to petitioners held in prison in Alabama, because:

Rule 32.2(a)(2) claims raised at trial are precluded

Rule 32.2(a)(3) claims not raised at trial are precluded

Rule 32.2(a)(4) claims raised on appeal are precluded

Rule 32.2(a)(5) claims not raised on appeal are precluded

This virtually precludes every constitutional challenge unless claims under 32.2(a)(3) and (5) happen to be jurisdictional claims, or there are 32.1(e) newly discovered material facts which could not be raised at trial 32.2(a)(3) or appeal 32.2(a)(5). 

Rule 32.2(e) as cited in Rule 32.6(a) establish that all claims specified in Rule 32.1(a) and (f) must be raised within (2) years after final decision on direct appeal to prevent Rule 32.2(a) from applying to the constitutional issues, which after the (2) year period, 32.2(a) precludes all claims except newly discovered evidence 32.1(e) that were not known in intime for trial 32.(a)3 or appeal 32.2(a)(5).>>
                        
"We want to protect the innocent and execute only the
guilty, but it shouldn't take 16 to 20 years to do
that," said Pryor, referring to the time some capital
cases and appeals take. 
<<The "innocent" that Bill Pryor is referring to is not the innocent who are in prison.  He is referring to the victims of crime.  Pryor doesn't have to be concerned with the innocent who are in prison because he is protected by the dictates of Alabama's Rule 32.  Meanwhile, Pryor wants to execute the guilty.  How can he know who the guilty are when cases are precluded from review by the courts?>>

He said the state is on the path to reforming criminal
sentencing. In the past, most convicted criminals
haven't served more than a third of their sentences.
"I call that lies in sentencing, and we ought to have
a system of truth in sentencing." 
<<This is an outrageous statement by a person who claims to be seeking JUSTICE.  Rather, Bill Pryor is seeking more INJUSTICE.  He wants to make sure that everyone who is in prison serves at least 85% of the time given to them by a broken court system run amok with no regard for Constitutional violations in many - probably most - individual cases.  Truth in sentencing, according to whom?  Pryor?  Were there actually TRUTH in sentencing, we would not be seeing people serving life without parole sentences for having committed 3 misdemeanors.  Were there TRUTH in sentencing, we would not be seeing death row sentences by the scores because a judge decided to overrule the jury's decision.>>

The state needs fair sentencing, too, said Pryor, with
consistent sentences to fit the crimes. "But we don't
have that in Alabama. It shouldn't matter where you
live or who the judge was or what color your skin is."
<<Pryor is absolutely correct with his full statemeng here.  Too bad this statement is contradicted by all of the above statements.  In Alabama, prejudice of every sort rule the day.  We have a case where three people are in prison for murdering a baby that never existed.  The fact that these three people are black and retarded has no weight in this court, with this prosecutor, right?  They'll serve their 85%-100% of their prison sentence if Pryor has his say - and he, at current Attorney General, will. FAIR sentencing in Alabama?  Sorry, that's a myth.>>

While Alabama has built a lot of prisons, corrections
officials are releasing some prisoners it should
incarcerate.
<<It is true in Alabama that some prisoners who should remain incarcerated are released.  You see, this is the way "Corrections" officials teach the public that ALL PRISONERS need to remain incarcerated forever.  That ALL PRISONERS are deserving of never being released.  And that ALL PRISONERS are liars.  A prisoner who needs to remain in prison is released to fuel the propaganda.  If the "Corruptions" department released someone whom they KNOW will commit more crimes, it serves their purpose.  Will they release people who will not commit any more crimes, or who never committed any crimes?  Hardly.  They would not recidivate.  They would fight to avoid the "Revolving Door" syndrome.  They would become upstanding citizens and the public would see that not all prisoners need to be kept behind bars forever!  This would defeat the State of Alabama's goal to remain a prison state.  Why?  Because prison is BIG BUSINESS.  So, Bill Pryor is not about justice.  He is about politics.>>

Not country clubs                                 

"And if anybody tells you our prisons are country
clubs, they're either liars or dangerous demagogues,"
he said. "I've visited plenty of them, and they're
scary places."
<<They are scary places, not because prisoners are waiting in the lurch to attack anything and everything that moves, but rather because Alabama prisons are torture chambers where men and women are treated like "dogs" - where they are beaten, humilitated, raped, and mentally/emotionally abused on a daily basis, year after year.  Why?  When you mistreat a person continuously, that person will rebel.  They will learn to be a "criminal" worse than they ever were when they entered the Alabama prison system.  They WILL RECIDIVATE!>>

That's why the state also needs rational sentencing,
said the attorney general. For non-violent offenders,
the state needs more community corrections programs,
along with more programs that send first-time drug
offenders to drug treatment centers instead of prison
and then require them to keep a job and be tested
regularly for drugs. Most inmates complete this type
of program successfully and eventually their records
are wiped clean.
<<Nice rhetoric, Bill - but we know you are lying.>>
                                  
Pryor said he has marshaled the state's 42 district
attorneys and their 300 assistants to address public
corruption and white-collar crime, too. "You've seen
the problems with Enron and WorldCom? If a teenager
gets into trouble with marijuana or theft, he comes
before a judge and we hold him accountable. We ought
to do that with the rich and powerful, too."      
<<Nice rhetoric, Bill - but we know you are lying.>>

Addressing fraud                                  

He said his office has addressed election fraud,
physician Medicaid fraud, and members of both
political parties who have abused the public trust.
"If we can't have confidence that our leaders were
elected fairly, what can we have confidence in?"  
<<What about the fraud in the court system by elected Judges?  What about the prosecutorial misconduct allowed to thrive in the courts to PREVENT fair trials?>>

Pryor said he has addressed juvenile crime both
professionally and personally. He is vice president of
the board of Alabama's Children First Foundation to
try to make a difference at an early age, and he has
tutored reading at an inner-city school in Montgomery
for two years. 
<<Oh yes, he's done a great job.  Is this is why Alabama has juveniles on death row?>>
                                  
"If I can find time in my schedule to be a mentor, you
can, too," the father of two told Kiwanians. He is
recruiting others to help through the "Mentor Alabama"
initiative he started to work with groups such as Big
Brothers, Big Sisters. He wants to enlist 3,000
mentors (citizens, college students, businesses,
corporations and community organizations) by the end
of the year. Call toll-free (888) 356-2400 to get
involved with helping children.                   

Pryor said he expects his office and the Legislature
to address child abductions and missing persons
measures soon.                                    

He said three things drive him in his work every day:
to protect the security of Alabama, to uphold honesty
and integrity in government and to promote a bright
future for Alabama.                               
<<I don't think Bill Pryor has an honest bone in his body.  He sounds good.  He looks good.  He smiles pretty.  And while he's doing all this "warm and fuzzy stuff", he jeopardizes his own integrity every time he violates the US Constitution, not to mention the integrity in Alabama government.  Bill Pryor has got to go.  We really do need INTEGRITY in the office of Attorney General, and Pryor is not it.>>

Kiwanian Rick Williams introduced Pryor, who was
appointed in 1997 and elected in 1998. He is the
Republican candidate for attorney general in the Nov.
5 general election, facing Democratic candidate Boyd
Whigham and Libertarian Wilson Myers.
<<My choice for Alabama Attorney General in the November elections is Wilson Myers.  I believe Wilson Myers has the mind set we need to promote fair trials, appeals that address the merits of cases, restoration of the vote for ex-prisoners, abolishment of abuse in our prisons, and even Restorative Justice Initiatives.  He is against the death penalty.  Collectively, we have the voting power to make some serious changes.  I hope you will all vote for him too.>>

Wilson Myers
Attorney at Law and
Candidate for Attorney General
156 East 15th Avenue, Suite 6
Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542
251-968-3090, Fax 251-968-3611
www.wmforag.com


Sherry Swiney
www.patrickcrusade.org
===============more on Pryor below===============
Aug. 20

ALABAMA:

Pryor sees possible flurry of inmate executions


Prosecutors have asked the state Supreme Court to set
execution dates for a Decatur man and seven other
death row inmates. By the end of the year, 1 could
become the 1st in Alabama to die by lethal injection
under a new law.

Death row inmate Anthony Keith Johnson, now 52, of
Decatur was convicted in 1985 in the fatal shooting of
Hartselle jeweler Kenneth Cantrell.
 
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor told the
Montgomery Rotary Club on Monday he believes many of
the executions will be carried out before the end of
2002.

He said the state's requests for execution dates are
routinely granted, "and we go forward with the
execution." Death row inmates will still file appeals,
he said, "but at the stage they're at now, there
usually aren't any serious appeals."
 
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling 7-2 in an
Arizona case, said juries and not judges must decide
if a person is sentenced to death. The ruling
immediately affects 150 killers in 5 states where the
judge, not the jury, sentences inmates.

The ruling did not immediately address laws in four
states, including Alabama, where juries make a
sentencing recommendation but judges make the final
decision. Pryor didn't mention the ruling Monday, but
he has said the state's capital murder sentencing laws
would withstand any challenge, because juries play a
vital role even if they don't decide whether
defendants live or die.

Pryor said the eight execution requests and others he
plans to make this year could mean a flurry of
executions among 187 prisoners on death row.

Only two dozen prisoners have been executed since the
death penalty was reinstated in Alabama in 1976.

"We in very short order could double the number of
executions we've had,'' Pryor told the club. This is
because many death row inmates have exhausted their
appeals.

The average time on death row for those 24 executed
inmates was 13 years. Many current occupants, like
Johnson, have been there 17 years or longer.

Pryor made a pitch for more money for forensics labs
and to provide sweeping sentencing reforms, including
so-called truth-in-sentencing laws. He said more money
for the state forensics labs would speed and improve
criminal investigations by giving the state the latest
technology for things like ballistics tests and DNA
testing.

"I want to make sure we're executing only the guilty,"
Pryor told the civic club, "but it shouldn't take 16
to 18 years to carry that out. It ought to be done in
the span of 7 years."

The jury in Johnson's trial voted 9-3 for life
imprisonment without parole. Circuit Judge Richard
Hundley rejected the jury's recommendation and imposed
the death penalty. Johnson was found guilty of gunning
down Cantrell at Cantrell's home after he and an
accomplice posed as customers wanting to do after
hours business.

Cantrell suffered 6 gunshot wounds in an exchange of
gunfire that also wounded Johnson, who later was
arrested at a motel in Oxford, records show.
 
Pryor said state corrections officials have assured
him work on the state's lethal injection chamber at
Holman Prison near Atmore will be finished before the
next scheduled execution.

State prisons spokesman Brian Corbett said the same
death chamber will be used for either the electric
chair or lethal injection. A new law allows condemned
prisoners to choose their method of execution.

(source: The Huntsville Times)