Fair Justice Act Opponents Say Bill Is Anything But Just

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – For some the death penalty is seen as justice served against people who committed horrible acts. For others, it is seen as an abuse of power and a continuation of violence.

As  state Republican lawmakers gear up to bring the Fair Justice Act before House and Senate judiciary committee on Tuesday, death penalty opponents are fighting back.

“I think there are better options. I personally prefer in life without parole, and I think that would be a much better solution for Alabama and these families,” said Clete Wetli, Chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Luther Strange toured Alabama, introducing the plan that aims to expedite the appeals process in capital murder cases, bye allowing Direct Appeals and Rule 32 appeals to occur at the same time, rather than in succession.

Supporters, like Strange and District Attorneys across the state, say the bill would lessen the amount of time criminals spend on death row.

It is modeled after a similar law in Texas, that decreased the amount of time from conviction to execution down to 8 years.

“I think what they ought to be focused on is making the court system more efficient but not eliminating people’s right to appeal,” countered Wetli.

Since the early 1970s, at least 130 people have been released from death row due to wrongful conviction.

Wetli says speeding up the appeals process will open the door for even more mistakes.

“There are certainly a lot of emotions attached to the death penalty cases,” said Wetli. “But when we look at the criminal justice system the operative word there is justice, so I’m leery of trying to speed things through in a system that is underfunded.

Wetli says he believes there is an alternative.

“My heart goes out to families who have suffered a loss like that, and no amount of sentencing can bring their loved one back,” said Wetli. “I think justice can be served by having people spend life in prison [without parole].”

The bill could come up for a vote as early as Wednesday.



  • Alan Montgomery

    At a time where state and federal budgets are becoming inadequate to meet all needs I find it hard to understand why anyone would consider keeping those convicted of death penalty crimes in prison for the balance of their natural lives. Keeping criminals incoserated is expensive: housing, meals, clothing, medical, dental, mental health, state provided education/training is free to those in our prisons. Citizens must work to provide these life benefits to themselves and their families and are burdened to take care of the criminals among us caught and sent to jail. I find it irresponsible for our legislators to consider further burdening the working class citizen with maintaining the lives of a criminal population who have committed an act warranting the death penalty

    • Sue

      I agree! If criminals are proven and admit to their guilt especially with DNA or incriminating evidence then they deserve the death penalty! It takes way too long for appeals and taxpayers money. The victim and their families need justice. The victim’s families pays taxes and has to support the murderer after their family member(s) have been killed. Also potential killers realize they will not get the death penalty and it encourages crime. Treat a killer like their unsuspecting innocent victim was treated! They killed and death penalty takes their life. There are SO MANY admitted killers who enjoyed torturing and killing their victim(s). They serve no purpose and would kill again if they had a chance. Get rid of them and do not worry about their health. Keep the death penalty but stop dragging it out!!

  • Charles Bavar

    if they are convicted, without any reasonable doubt, they should be 2 years for appeals. at that time they should be executed. quit putting them up on the tax payers dime. clear out the death row. quit waisting tax payers money. they wanted a speedy trial , so , give them a speedy execution.

  • dmil72

    The prison system is a business, a big business. Just do a google search on the private prison system lobby in this country and see for yourself. The reason that they don’t execute people like they are supposed to is because it’s not financially viable to kill off your profits…

  • Susan Schindler

    Actually the death penalty is known to cost far more than life sentences with the huge expenses of death penalty cases beginning even before the trial.

    • Wake Up

      Susan, it has also been proven that the death penalty has executed innocent, wrongly convicted, people. It is sad that so many people would rather save a few dollars than worry about executing an innocent person. Interesting, the strongest supporters of the death penalty are also the ones most often to consider themselves pro-life. As usual — they are hypocrites!

      • Sue

        I disagree. When DNA was unavailable years ago is when most of the mistakes were made. I am not for executing anyone wrongly accused. If the person has admitted to the crime or evidence matching DNA or anything that positively identifies the person including witnesses, etc. for murder the should get the death penalty! Far too many murderers walk or get so little time it is insulting to the person they murdered. A lot continues to murder and enjoy doing it. Killing someone by accident, unintentionally is bad enough but loving to kill is the biggest problem. Some have killed before just never got caught! The judicial system especially with a jury who does not want to convict because. they. would rather be home so the murderer gets off easy. Lawyers who prosecute have a lot tougher time getting a conviction than the. defending ones. who will defend anyone for big bucks even if they believe their client is guilty. Women are usually the target- such as rape and murder. These days it is highly unlikely anyone innocent is convicted. It is not just to save taxpayers money. They took a life or lives of innocent. people so their life should be taken! The criminal has a LOT less pain than the victim who did nothing to deserve to be murdered!

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