First, the Decatur Daily reports today:
Three former Alabama Supreme Court justices are asking the country’s highest court to hear the case of Alabama death row inmates who say they don’t have adequate legal representation, but the state is arguing the inmates’ claim is “a work of fiction.”
I explained here that Alabama does an extremely bad job of providing attorneys to convicts on death row. Basically, if those folks want an appointed attorney, they have to first convince a judge that they have a valid claim. Stating a valid claim, though, requires extensive investigation, legal research and writing; in other words, stating a valid claim requires a lawyer. So, as the Tuscaloosa News put it today:
Inmates who are condemned to die have to convince a judge that they need legal representation to protect their rights and to prove that they have a substantial claim for an appeal.
But a suit filed by six death row inmates says they can’t make those cases effectively without an attorney. There’s a circular quality to their argument. They need a lawyer to convince a judge that they need a lawyer.
So the state is just wrong when it says that Alabama provides indigent capital defendants lawyers for post-conviction proceedings. That said, the state is going to win the lawsuit. No way is Scotus going to force the state to set up some kind of indigent program for post-conviction proceedings.
Second, the B’ham City counsel – only a few weeks after several members proudly declared their ignorance and homophobia – has just voted to adopt a new version of a resolution condemning, among other things, homophobia. An official declaration that gays are something other than the cause of the end of the world? Jerry Falwell must be spinning in his grave. Or wherever he is.
Victims of Eric Rudolph, the anti-abortion extremist who pulled off a series of bombings across the South, say he is taunting them from deep within the nation’s most secure federal prison, and authorities say there is little they can do to stop him.
Apparently, he’s writing nasty stories and sending them to fans who publish them on the web. He’s been doing so for quite a while; here’s my post on a similar report from a few months ago. Whether or not the prison authorities can prohibit the letters, like I said in the earlier post, the letters certainly justify Rudolph’s continued stay in a SuperMax prison.
The owner of an adult store in Decatur launched her final appeal Monday against a state ban on selling sex toys, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the bedroom.