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Lawmakers Consider Retroactive Ban on Judicial Override

Alabama State Capitol

Supporters of an Alabama death row inmate are waiting to see what the state legislature does on the subject of judicial overrides before the end of this year’s lawmaking session, as the fate of a Covington County man could hang in the balance.

Governor Kay Ivey recently signed a bill into law that stops judges from sentencing future defendants to death after the jury recommends life in prison. State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma wants more. He wrote a bill that extends the ban retroactively to people already on death row due to a judicial override.

That could help Roy Doster of Andalusia, Ala. APR listeners heard his story last year during our series on justice reform. New York attorney Evan Farber spoke on Doster’s behalf.

“In our view, the ideal situation is that, as with every other crime, the jury should be charged with finding all the elements, and with deciding that he is sentenced to death.”

APR’s justice reform series was recently honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. You can hear these stories below.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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