death penalty

The fate of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. The panel filed six counts of judicial ethics violations against Moore and suspended him from office pending an investigation.

The charges stem from an order he issued to all of the state’s probate judges instructing them not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The order was issued in January, six months after and in direct defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Alabama's attorney general is appealing a recent ruling that declared the state's death penalty sentencing system unconstitutional.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd doesn't have the authority to prevent the state from seeking the death penalty against defendants who are charged with capital murder.

In Alabama death penalty cases, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final say. It’s not uncommon for state judges to overturn a jury recommendation of life in prison in favor of the death penalty.

A Jefferson County judge has ruled Alabama’s method of imposing the death penalty unconstitutional.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd sided with defense attorneys who argued that Alabama’s death penalty statute was extremely similar to Florida’s, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s law was unconstitutional in January.

In death penalty cases in Alabama and Florida, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final decision. It’s not uncommon for Alabama judges to overrule a jury suggestion of life in prison and impose the death penalty.

Christopher Brooks
Alabama Department of Corrections

The state of Alabama executed Christopher Brooks last night for the 1992 rape and murder of Deann Campbell.

The execution was the state’s first in more than two years and the first to be carried out in Alabama using the controversial new sedative midazolam. Some say midazolam carries a high risk of botched executions, and there is currently a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s lethal injection procedure.

But Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says last night’s execution went “exactly as planned”.

Alabama death row
EJI

The state of Alabama is scheduled to execute its first inmate in more than two years, and defense attorneys want to monitor the proceedings a little more closely.

Lawyers representing several Alabama death row inmates have asked a federal judge to let them view preparations for tonight’s execution of Christopher Brooks.

Last week, the attorneys filed a motion asking that one of them be allowed to view the insertion of the intravenous line before Brooks is put to death by lethal injection.

Execution witnesses do not normally see the preparations.

A federal appeals court has declined to stop an upcoming execution in Alabama.

Yesterday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency stay sought by inmate Christopher Eugene Brooks. Brooks is scheduled to be put to death tomorrow for the 1992 rape and murder of Jo Deann Campbell.

Brooks’s attorney had asked the court to stay the execution until a federal judge reviews the state's new lethal injection drug combination. A hearing on the constitutionality of those drugs is scheduled for April.

An Alabama death row inmate is once again appealing to have his execution delayed. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has the latest.

Alabama inmate Christopher Brooks is asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt his execution. His death sentence is currently scheduled to be carried out on January 21.

Brooks’s attorney filed the notice of appeal yesterday. Earlier this month, a federal judge denied an emergency motion for a stay of execution.

A federal judge has denied an Alabama death row inmate's emergency motion for a stay of execution.

Chief U.S. District Judge William Keith Watkins issued an order denying Christopher Brooks' request yesterday.

Brooks is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 21 for the rape and bludgeoning death of Deann Campbell more than 20 years ago. The execution would be Alabama's first in more than two years.

Alabama death row
EJI

The Alabama Supreme Court has refused to stop an execution scheduled for next month.

In a unanimous decision yesterday, justices refused inmate Christopher Brooks' request to stop his execution. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on Brooks' request for a stay.

Brooks is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 21 for the rape and murder of Deann Campbell more than 20 years ago. The execution would be Alabama's first in more than two years.

Demonstrators emptied liquor bottles outside the Alabama Capitol to protest the closing of driver's license offices in Black Belt counties.

Selma state senator Hank Sanders told the Montgomery Advertiser that state agencies are leaving money-losing liquor stores open in the impoverished areas while closing rural driver's license offices.

The crowd chanted "Give us the ballot, not just the bottle" during the Monday protest.

The event was one of several demonstrations over the closures.

Pilgrim's Pride
John Bonzo / Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed multiple lawsuits against chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride.

According to an AL.com report, the agency is accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices in Alabama and North Carolina.

A complaint filed last month by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Compliance Programs accuses Pilgrim’s Pride of systematically discriminating against African-American, Caucasian and female job applicants at its poultry plant in Athens.

The Alabama Attorney General's Office is seeking an execution date for a death row inmate convicted in the 1992 rape and murder of a Homewood woman.

Al.com reports the Attorney General submitted a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court last week saying inmate Christopher Brooks has exhausted his direct appeals and should be scheduled to be executed.

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a company accused of retaliating against whistleblowing workers in Selma.

Workers in a Selma automotive parts plant have complained about conditions in the plant and were involved in a federal investigation.

An order filed by the U.S. Department of Labor Wednesday in U.S. District Court Wednesday blocks the Lear Corporation and Renosol Seating from terminating, suspending, suing, threatening or retaliating against current or former employees.

Lawmakers want to keep the identities of the companies supplying drugs for lethal injections in Alabama a secret.

That's what a bill that just passed the state House yesterday in a 76 to 26 vote will guarantee. That bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama hasn't executed a death row inmate since 2013, partly because the state has had trouble obtaining lethal injection drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have historically shied away from associating their name with an execution drug.

The execution of an Alabama death row inmate has been put on hold.

U.S. District Judge William Keith Watkins granted the emergency stay to Tommy Arthur. The convicted killer is challenging the state’s new execution drug combination on the grounds that it’s cruel and unusual punishment. The cocktail uses the same chemicals used in botched executions in other states.

Project Hope executive director Esther Brown says this form of capital punishment is not that different from policies of the past.

A federal judge in Alabama has ruled on three gay couples' request that she force a probate judge to issue marriage licenses in Mobile County.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade has ordered Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis to begin issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses.

Granade held the hearing amid confusion across the state, as many probate judges refused to issue the licenses after state Chief Justice Roy Moore said they didn't have to.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals all but ensured gay marriage in Alabama yesterday.

The court announced that they will not act on any appeals until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage nationally.

In Alabama, that means judges can begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Monday, assuming the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't issue a stay before then.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Attorneys for an Alabama death row inmate have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the state's new lethal injection drug combination has never been tried on any prisoner in the United States and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Attorneys for Christopher Lee Price filed the suit Wednesday night. It asks a federal judge to block the state from using the new, three-drug combination. The state prison system developed the combination after running out of one of the drugs in its old execution protocol.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Attorneys for a condemned inmate say Alabama's new lethal injection drug combination needs review because it relies on a drug used in two recently botched executions.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur on Friday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to deny the state's request for an execution date.

Suhana S. Han tells that inmates executed in Ohio and Arizona took from 25 minutes to two hours to die, and that suggests the first drug given, the anesthetic midazolam, is unreliable.

Han says the new combination needs court scrutiny before it is used in Alabama.

A state appeals court is refusing to overturn the convictions of eight inmates on Alabama's death row.

In cases from Jefferson County, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the convictions and death sentences of Justin White; William Bruce Marshal; Demetrius Avery Jackson; and Anthony Lane.

The judges also refused to overturn the cases of Calvin Stallworth from Baldwin County and David H. Wiggins from Russell County.

From Mobile County, the court upheld the convictions and death sentences of William John Zeigler and Michael Bragg Woolf.

Alabama lawmakers are seeking to keep secret the manufacturers and suppliers of the drugs used in lethal injection executions.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill Tuesday.

The bill would require the state to keep the identities of people and companies who provide the drugs to the state confidential.

Rogersville Republican Lynn Greer says the state needs to make sure it can continue to obtain the lethal injection drugs.

Alabama.gov

Alabama legislators are showing their support for expanding Alabama's death penalty law to cover more crimes and to expedite executions by shortening appeals.

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees voted Wednesday to approve bills being pushed by Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

One bill expands Alabama's death penalty law to cover several additional crimes, including killing someone on a school campus or in a child-care center.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Andrew Lackey's execution late last month was the first in Alabama since 2011, when the state had six executions.

Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw says executions have slowed because of challenges to the way Alabama conducts executions.

Bryan Stevenson of Montgomery is an anti-death penalty attorney, and he says challenges have included questions about the drugs used. Attorneys say courts allowed Lackey's execution to proceed mainly because he had dropped his appeals. They say they expect legal challenges to continue to slow the overall pace of Alabama executions.