15:26, May 30 84 0 abajournal.com

2017-05-30 15:26:04

 

Bill intended to speed up capital appeals, opposed by the ABA, is signed by Alabama’s governor

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday signed into law a bill requiring capital defendants to pursue direct and post-conviction appeals at the same time.

Ivey said in a press release that the bill, known as the Fair Justice Act, “strikes an important balance between protecting the rights of a defendant and the state’s interest in allowing justice to be achieved effectively and swiftly.” AL.com has a report.

The bill requires the post-conviction appeal to be filed within a year of the filing of the direct appeal, according to a prior report.

The ABA had opposed the law. ABA President Linda A. Klein said in a May 12 letter to members of the Alabama Legislature that the bill increases the risk that an innocent person will be executed.

Klein pointed out that ABA guidelines require post-conviction counsel to investigate the work of prior lawyers in capital cases, including the work of lawyers on direct appeal. Appellate lawyers also typically need sufficient time to time to review thousands of pages of trial records, witness statements, police and medical documents, and other evidence, she said.