Added: Durel Renaud - Date: 30.07.2021 09:32 - Views: 34934 - Clicks: 9717
Wright walked free in May, greeted by his son, Chris Burton, whom he had not seen in 15 years. They climbed into Mr. Wright reunited with his extended family.
He has begun a re-entry program run by the Columbus Urban League and, at age 58, is enrolled in robotics classes. Greeted by his son, Motis Wright leaves Staton prison after 27 years of incarceration. Many, like Motis Wright, live in honor dorms and have long aged out of criminality. During his 27 years of incarceration, Mr. Wright developed an exceptional record of service and leadership.
He aided in the establishment of the first honor dorm offered through the Alabama Department of Corrections and was instrumental in bringing the nationally recognized Long Distance D prison program to the state of Alabama. Hundreds of incarcerated people have access to productive and rehabilitative programming because of Mr. Teachers, chaplains, and correctional officers all recommended Mr. Wright for release. With a life sentence, Mr. Wright became eligible for parole last year. Investigative journalist Beth Shelburne alerted Appleseed about the case. Appleseed lawyers submitted a comprehensive parole packet including character references from ADOC staff, documentation of Mr.
Wright deserved another chance. There was no victim opposition to his release. Motis Wright emerged from Staton Correctional Facility and was greeted by his sister, niece, and son, who are just a few members of his large extended family. Nevertheless, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole denied parole and set off his next consideration date five years, the longest possible set off.
It appeared that Mr. Beginning in fiscal yearthe Parole Board reduced the of parole hearings to a year low.
That same year, then-Director of the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Charlie Graddick indicated that individuals with violent convictions would not be granted parole because of the nature of their convictions, despite parole eligibility for such offenses per Alabama law. Alabama Appleseed lawyers filed a post-conviction petition on behalf of Mr. Wright to be able to secure employment and support himself before old age becomes an impediment, resentencing to time-served is appropriate.
The Court is also aware that his sentence would have been much different under the current Sentencing Guidelines. Wright now lives with his year-old mother and one of his sisters in Columbus, Ohio. He is eager to obtain employment, to use his agile mind and positive energy to contribute to society, and has been slowed only by the obstacles that formerly incarcerated people face in obtaining identification.
This year-old father and grandfather can now spend unlimited time with his sons and grandchildren. The first time they met, he recalled, they wanted to tell him all of their talents and what they like to do. One of his granddaughters even played the piano for him.
Below is a summary of these priority issues that were deliberated by the Legislature. That is why we supported HBsponsored by Rep. This bill successfully made it out of the House Judiciary Committee with strong bi-partisan support, though it never reached the full chamber of the House of Origin for a vote. If passed, this legislation would have allowed people who were sentenced under the HFOA for committing nonviolent offenses to petition the court for a review of their case and potentially be resentenced under current sentencing guidelines.
We also supported an amendment to HB 24 that was offered by Sen. Although HB 24 came very close to passing out of both chambers, on the last day of session it failed to make it to the Senate floor for a full chamber vote. For too long, civil asset forfeiture has been improperly used as a revenue generator for law enforcement entities throughout the state. As currently structured, civil asset forfeiture empowers police to seize cash or other assets based on probable cause that they are connected in some way to certain criminal activity, even if no one is ever charged with a crime.
We believe that this violates a host of due process rights and that civil asset forfeiture ought to be replaced with a system that ensures due process protections. Arthur Orr and Rep. Andrew Sorrell, that were deed to replace civil asset forfeiture with criminal asset forfeiture. We believe that as originally written, these bills would have been good for the State of Alabama due to them: 1 requiring transparency in the criminal asset forfeiture process; and 2 prohibiting Alabama law enforcement from receiving proceeds from individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.
Although SB did ultimately pass, the substitute version that made it out of the State House was ificantly diluted in comparison Missing my Titusville lawyer friend 41 the original version of the bill. While the bill that passed adds some minimal due process protections to existing civil asset forfeiture laws, Appleseed hopes that in the future, civil asset forfeiture is replaced altogether with criminal asset forfeiture.
At the beginning of this year, nearlyAlabamians had a suspended for things unrelated to unsafe driving — namely failure to appear in court, failure to pay a traffic ticket, or an alcohol or drug offense excluding DUIs. A goal of Alabama Appleseed is to increase access to alternatives to incarceration, and beyond-the-prison-walls public safety solutions. We are also in the process of being sued by the U. Department of Justice, as a lawsuit that was filed under the Trump Administration has argued that our prisons violate the constitutional rights of all men housed in them.
Appleseed believes that it is time for State leaders to seriously invest in alternatives to incarceration such as pre-trial diversion and Community Corrections programs, as one of many solutions to the human rights crisis in state prisons. Although diversion programs currently exist throughout most of the state, not all Alabamians have access to them. That is why we supported HB 73, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hill, that would have required every judicial circuit to establish a Community Corrections program.
Although this bill made it out of the House of Origin and Senate Judiciary committee, it never made it to the Senate floor for a full chamber vote. Despite the existence of diversion programs and drug courts throughout most of the State, they are all participant-funded. This means that the budget to run and operate these programs is derived from the pockets of the people who utilize the programs. So this year we also supported HB 71, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hill, because we believe in establishing universal eligibility and completion requirements to safeguard against the existing practice of the completion of diversion programs being determined by whether all fees have been paid.
If passed, HB 71 would have created an ability Court Commission tasked with overseeing, studying, and creating uniformity amongst all existing diversion programs. Although this bill made it out of both the House Judiciary Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, it never made it to the floor of the House of Origin for a full chamber vote. In addition to the aforementioned central areas of focus, we also monitored, worked on, or supported several other key pieces of criminal justice reform legislation this session. Below is a summary of some of those other key pieces of legislation.
We were strongly in favor of bills such as HB 92, by Rep. Jim Hill, deed to create a second parole board; HBby Rep. That is why we supported companion bills HBsponsored by Rep. Chris England and SBsponsored by Sen. Roger Smitherman. If passed, these bills would have created an Alabama Court Cost Commission deed to review existing court costs to determine if they are reasonably related to the cost of running a court system.
Unfortunately, although both bills made it out of the Judiciary committee in their respective House of Origin, neither of these bills received a vote by their full chamber. Thus, neither bill passed this session. It is time for Alabama to pass smart alternatives to criminalizing marijuana possession and use. That is why this session we supported SB 59, by Sen. Tim Missing my Titusville lawyer friend 41 that was deed to legalize medical marijuana.
We also supported SBby Sen. Bobby Singleton that was deed to decriminalize marijuana use and possession. Ultimately, SB 59 passed out of both chambers and was sent the Governor; and SB passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee yet never made it to the floor of the House of Origin for a full chamber vote.
Alabama Appleseed strongly supports bills deed to strengthen government transparency in all regards. That is why this session we closely watched HBsponsored by Rep. Mike Jones; SBsponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr; and SBsponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton. This session, SB and SB made it out of the Senate committees they were ased to yet not to the floor of the House of Origin for a full chamber vote.
Unfortunately, however, the final version of HB was ificantly watered down before leaving the State House. The version of this bill sent to the Governor does not require legislative approval for the state to enter into large multi-million dollar contracts as was the initial intent ; rather, it simply requires legislative review of large contracts.
That is why we strongly supported SBsponsored by Sen. Roger Smitherman and deed to create such due process protections. Although this bill made it out of the Senate Education committee and House or Origin, it failed to pass out of the House Education committee. Below is a summary of key human rights and criminal justice issues we anticipate will be under active, serious deliberation by the legislature in We expect legislation to be introduced that would end civil asset forfeiture replacing it with the criminal forfeiture process in all instancesrequire transparency in the criminal asset forfeiture process, and prohibit Alabama law enforcement from receiving proceeds from the federal civil asset forfeiture programs.
Alabama Appleseed supports this legislation because civil asset forfeiture:. Alabama Appleseed supports this legislation because our research has found that this practice:. Legislation will be introduced that creates a commission to study the use and effectiveness of diversion programs throughout the state.
Alabama Appleseed supports this legislation for all of the following reasons:. Birmingham, AL — Doubts of ever leaving prison had been embedded deep within me. At least not completely. Missing my Titusville lawyer friend 41 that fearful, nasty taste of doubt still lingered in the back of my throat. Even after being told that I might leave the following morning. I needed more time.
At least two more days. Especially after having served 37 years on a Life Without the Possibility of Parole sentence. I should have been running towards the front entrance as shameless tears fell from my eyes.
Then exhaustion won. Because I was awakened from a deep sleep by an officer yelling my name. Telling me to pack my belongings. That I had five minutes.
I was confused, disoriented, not fully understanding where I was or what those words actually meant. Wondering why I was hearing applause. I realized that nearly the whole dorm was on their feet, smiling and clapping. Then it hit me. I was going home. It was just a few weeks ago that I found myself fighting back tears while sitting in that very spot.
It may as well have been the Holy Grail. I had made several attempts to the courts pleading my case. But this petition.Missing my Titusville lawyer friend 41
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