Graddick: Alabama parole hearings set to resume ‘on or about Nov. 1’
The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles is set to resume hearings “on or about Nov. 1,” according to new bureau director Charlie Graddick.
On Friday, Graddick announced that alleged failure by prior officials to bring the bureau into compliance with a new law enacted June 6 led to the postponement of 113 hearings that had been set for a docket this week.
Prior leadership had four months to implement compliance. A Wednesday press release from the bureau outlined that its operations division was unable to assure Graddick that all interested parties had been notified of the hearings as prescribed by the new law.
“I am certain within reason that we will have the system up and running on or about Nov. 1,” Graddick stated on Wednesday. “This uncalled-for situation is a disappointment to me and to our hardworking employees but mostly I feel sorry for the victims and other interested parties who have been forced to wait to testify before the parole board. We’ve put all resources possible toward repairing this breakdown.”
Graddick’s appointment took effect September 1. He served as the 42nd attorney general of Alabama from 1979-1987 and is a longtime fixture in the state’s judicial system. Graddick’s first action as director was to place three bureau officials on mandatory leave pending investigation into allegations of “malfeasance,” per Friday’s press release. This included his predecessor, Eddie Cook.
On Wednesday, Graddick further lamented the compliance issue at hand.
“I want to thank those who continue to extend themselves to bring the bureau to compliance,” Graddick concluded. “It’s going to be a trek because we are starting from scratch. I asked the previous director what had been done to bring the agency into legal compliance. He said, ’Nothing has been done.’”
Update 4:30 p.m.:
In a supplementary statement, bureau communications director Terry Abbott provided information on additional hearings that will be postponed until the “on or about Nov. 1” timeline.
“The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles postponed 627 hearings that had been scheduled for September and October, 2019. The 627 includes the 113 cases that had been scheduled for hearings this week. The 627 cases will be rescheduled for hearings that will begin no later than November 1,” Abbott wrote.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn