U.S. Supreme Court

Last night, the state of Alabama put a man to death who was convicted of murdering a police officer and also in the process of suing the state over its lethal injection methods.

Torrey McNabb
ADOC

The state of Alabama is once against petitioning a federal appellate court to allow an execution to proceed – this time for a death row inmate convicted of killing a police officer two decades ago.

Earlier this week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a stay issued by a federal judge in the case. State attorneys argue there is no reason to block the execution of 40-year-old Torrey Twane McNabb, scheduled for tomorrow.

Federal judges have tossed out lawsuits challenging the new redistricting plan for the state of Alabama, which effectively clears the way for the new districts to be used in next year’s election cycle.

According to the Alabama Political Reporter, a three-judge panel in federal district court in Alabama’s Middle District decided the lawsuits brought by the Alabama Democratic Conference and Alabama’s Legislative Black Caucus were untimely and lacked standing in the specific districts.

SPLC

Alabama prison officials say they're increasing mental health staffing following a court order on the lack of treatment for inmates. This issue figured prominently in the APR news team's national award-winning investigation of Alabama's prison system. After our coverage aired, the case was granted class action status and the ruling later rendered. Click below to hear these stories again...

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Alabama can proceed with the execution of a man convicted of killing his estranged wife and father-in-law in 1993.   

 A divided court on Wednesday overturned a stay issued by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jeffery Lynn Borden is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday at a south Alabama prison.

The state of Alabama is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for permission to proceed with the execution of a man convicted of killing his estranged wife and father-in-law back in 1993.

Yesterday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall asked the nation's high court to overturn an injunction currently blocking Thursday's scheduled execution of 56-year-old Jeffery Lynn Borden.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker will have his own day in court after all.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins recently ruled against dismissing Justice Parker’s contention that certain state restrictions on judges' speech violate their First Amendment rights.

druid city pride
Alex AuBuchon / APR

An LGBT rights organization in Tuscaloosa celebrated the anniversary of a monumental Supreme Court decision this past weekend.

Today is the two-year anniversary of the court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that ultimately guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry throughout the United States. Druid City Pride, a community organization in Tuscaloosa, commemorated the occasion with food, music, and a fundraising raffle.

Russell Howard is the director of Druid City Pride. He says he wants to keep seeing progress toward LGBT equality in Alabama.

James McWilliams
ADOC

The U.S. Supreme Court has come down in favor of an Alabama inmate who argued he didn’t have a mental health expert at his trial to help him try and avoid a death sentence.

The justices divided 5 to 4 yesterday, ultimately siding with Alabama death row inmate James McWilliams. He did not have an independent mental health expert on his side when he was convicted of raping and killing a convenience store clerk in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama death row
EJI

The state of Alabama put Robert Melson to death last night for killing three people during a 1994 robbery of a Gadsden fast food restaurant.

Melson was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. last night, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. It’s the second execution of the year in Alabama.

An inmate once called the "Houdini" of Alabama's death row for escaping seven past execution dates was put to death early this morning for a 1982 contract killing.

Tommy Arthur, 75, was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. this morning following a lethal injection, according to correctional authorities said. Arthur was convicted of killing riverboat engineer Troy Wicker, who was fatally shot as he slept in his bed in Muscle Shoals.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay on the execution of an Alabama prison inmate.

The nation's high court stayed the execution of Tommy Arthur, "pending further order" from the justices, late Thursday afternoon. Arthur was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

Hugo Black was only Alabamian to serve on U.S. Supreme Court...

Supreme Court Won't Review AL Death Row Cases

Jan 26, 2017
Alabama death row
EJI

The U.S. Supreme Court says it won’t be taking up the cases of three Alabama death row inmates, including one who recently came very close to the death chamber.

Al.com reports the Supreme Court justices declined to review the cases of Jerry Bohannon, Aubrey Shaw and Tommy Arthur. Arthur was awarded a last-minute stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court back in November.

Moore appealing his suspension from the bench

Dec 14, 2016

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is appealing his suspension from the bench.

Moore's attorney says in a brief filed yesterday a judicial discipline panel exceeded its authority by suspending Moore for the remainder of his term. It requires a unanimous vote to remove a judge from office.

Moore argues the lengthy suspension is a "de facto removal" without the required unanimous vote.

Alabama death row inmate Ronald Bert Smith was executed last night for the 1994 killing of a Huntsville man.

But the way he died may lend additional support to those attempting to outlaw the use of the sedative midazolam in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail. During the 34-minute execution last night at Holman Correctional Facility, Smith reportedly coughed and heaved for nearly 15 minutes.

An Alabama inmate is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his upcoming execution to consider whether a judge should have been able to give him a death sentence when the jury recommended life imprisonment.

Attorneys for Ronald Bert Smith filed the stay request today. Smith is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Thursday for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson.

A jury recommended life imprisonment by a 7-5 vote, but a judge sentenced Smith to the death penalty.

An Alabama inmate set to be executed next week is asking the governor to intervene because a judge imposed his death sentence over a jury's recommendation of life imprisonment.

Attorneys for Ronald Bert Smith wrote in a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley that the judge overrode the jury's will. The jury voted 7-5 in his case for life in prison.

Smith is currently scheduled to be executed Dec. 8 for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson.

Supreme Court
Equal Justice Initiative

Alabama death row inmate Tommy Arthur is still alive this morning, thanks to a last-minute stay of execution from the United States Supreme Court.

Arthur was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection yesterday evening. The court initially ordered his execution delayed while they reviewed his case. Then late last night, the Supreme Court stopped Arthur’s execution altogether as the justices consider whether to take up his appeals. Justices say Arthur’s execution stay will expire if they decide not to hear his case.

Alabama death row
EJI

The state of Alabama is preparing to execute a death row inmate who was convicted in the 1982 killing of a man in a murder-for-hire arrangement.

Tommy Arthur is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m. this evening.

Arthur, now 74, was convicted of murdering Troy Wicker in 1982 as the man slept inside his Muscle Shoals home. Investigators said Arthur was having an affair with Wicker's wife. She later testified that she promised him $10,000 to kill her husband.

Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of an Alabama death row inmate he says could be "very likely actually innocent."

Meese filed a brief on behalf of inmate Bill Kuenzel with the U.S. Supreme Court which will decide whether to hear Kuenzel's case.

Kuenzel was convicted of killing store clerk Linda Jean Offord in 1987.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is set to appear in court tomorrow morning. He’s facing judicial ethics violations that could result in his removal from the state Supreme Court. The charges date back to the legal controversy and confusion over same-sex marriage in Alabama earlier this year, and Moore’s personal battle against it.

Chief Justice Moore has some history with this court. In 2003, he was removed from office for unrelated judicial ethics violations. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has the latest on Chief Justice Moore’s case and what to expect tomorrow.

Roy Moore
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is headed to trial next month.

The nine members of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary decided yesterday’s hearing wasn’t enough to address the ethics charges against Chief Justice Moore. The Chief Justice is accused of abusing his power as chief justice to promote an agenda against same-sex marriage. The Judicial Inquiry Commission says Moore encouraged the state’s probate judges to defy a U.S. Supreme Court decision that had already legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore will appear before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary this afternoon.

Moore is facing judicial ethics violations that could result in his removal from the head of the Alabama Supreme Court. The charges stem from an order Moore gave the state's probate judges back in January encouraging them not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. That was in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s effort to have his ethics charges dismissed has been thrown out by a federal judge.

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Harold Allbritton issued an order dismissing Moore’s lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Alabama’s chief justice is facing ethics charges that could result in his removal from office, and Judge Allbritton says that state process should continue without federal interference.

Roy Moore
AP

Suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore was scheduled to appear in federal court this morning in an effort to have his judicial ethics charges dismissed.

But U.S. District Judge Harold Allbritton canceled that hearing yesterday, saying his eventual decision would be based on legal documents alone.

Newly released documents show Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore urged fellow justices to action after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Court papers filed today show Moore asking the other justices to clarify the state's position in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.

The documents show Moore cites Kentucky court clerk and gay-marriage opponent Kim Davis in claiming that Christians who oppose same-sex weddings could be forced to give up their public jobs.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

A north Alabama attorney has been appointed to serve on the court currently considering judicial ethics charges that could result in the removal of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Attorney W.N. "Rocky" Watson of Fort Payne will replace Opelika attorney John V. Denson on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary during the Moore case. Denson recused himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. He is the only current member of the Court of the Judiciary that was also on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

One member of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary has recused himself from the upcoming decision on the fate of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Opelika attorney John V. Denson is one of nine judges, attorneys and other citizens who serve on Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary. He says he is recusing himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Denson is the only current member of the Court who also served on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

The U.S. Supreme Court says death-row prisoners must have "rational understanding" that they are about to be executed and why.  But a lawyer for an Alabama inmate say their client fails that test.

A lawyer for 65-year-old Vernon Madison told a panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges today that stroke-induced dementia has made Madison unable to understand why the state plans to execute him. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte.

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