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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dean John Carroll Says Alabama Death Penalty Needs Work

From al.com: Alabama's death penalty law has flaws that should be addressed, says John Carroll, dean of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

Open dialogue with state officials about some suggested reforms is needed, Carroll said during Tuesday's Kiwanis Club of Birmingham luncheon at The Harbert Center.

"It's a difficult topic because it involves huge emotions," said Carroll, who has defended people in and presided over death penalty cases in the past. In some instances, such cases involve politics, he said.

Carroll said 195 people in Alabama have been sentenced to death. In 2005, Alabama sentenced more people to death than Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee combined, he said. Since 1976, seven people sent to Death Row in Alabama and 120 elsewhere in the country have been exonerated, he said.

Carroll was a member of the American Bar Association's death penalty assessment team for Alabama from 2005 to 2006. Some reforms the team suggests include:

Revamping indigent defense services at trial and on direct appeal. Problems include the lack of training for lawyers on death penalty case procedures and caps on fees for appeal ($2,000) and post-conviction ($1,000).  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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