Alabama Arise Executive Director Robyn Hyden released the following statement Monday in response to Gov. Kay Ivey’s request for a pause on executions in Alabama:
“All Alabamians deserve equal justice under the law. Gov. Kay Ivey’s call for a temporary halt to executions is a welcome and necessary move toward ending many of the injustices plaguing Alabama’s capital punishment system.
“The attorney general should agree to the governor’s request. The Department of Corrections should complete the thorough review of the state’s death penalty procedures that Ivey demanded. And the department should pull back the curtains and provide greater public transparency on those procedures.
“Legislators must do their part to reduce the unfairness of Alabama’s death penalty system, too. They should retroactively apply the state’s 2017 ban on judicial override, a practice that allowed judges to impose death sentences despite a jury’s recommendation otherwise. Lawmakers also should require unanimous agreement from jurors to sentence someone to death. And they should provide state funding for appeals of death sentences, as other states with capital punishment do.
“Our state’s death penalty is broken and should be abolished. Short of that, these policy changes would be important steps to reduce the inequities that pervade capital punishment in Alabama.”