Alabama lawmakers will vote next month on the state's "judicial override" law. That statute current allows a judge to impose a death sentence when a jury has recommended life imprisonment. Alabama Public Radio covered this policy as part of its multi part series titled "...and justice for all." Alabama is the only state that allows a judge to do this.
The Alabama House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the bill on April 4th when lawmakers return from a two-week spring break. The Senate has already approved the measure. The bill is third on the proposed debate agenda for the day. The Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative says Alabama judges have overridden jury recommendations one hundred and twelve times since 1976. In 101 of those cases, the judges gave a death sentence. The legislation would only affect future capital cases, not inmates currently on Alabama's death row. Click below for APR's feature story on "judicial override."