3 months ago

AG Steve Marshall’s office takes over Riverchase Galleria case

Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office is officially assuming jurisdiction over the shootings at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night in order to ensure the important cases meet national prosecutorial standards, confirming Yellowhammer News’ reporting.

During a press conference on Thursday, Marshall explained that his office will handle any and all prosecutions of the respective shootings of E.J. Bradford, 18-year-old Brian Wilson and 12-year-old Molly Davis. Bradford was killed by a Hoover Police officer.

Marshall’s decision to take the cases came after newly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr admitted in a letter Tuesday to the attorney general that potential conflicts between himself and key parties to the shootings existed.

The attorney general emphasized that the perceived conflicts warrant recusal under the gold standard of ethical and transparent prosecutorial conduct – the National District Attorneys Association’s National Prosecution Standards.

In Carr’s letter, he told Marshall that “a fair-minded, objective observer could conclude that a conflict exists.”

Based on the entirety of the information Carr provided in the letter, as well as “multiple conversations” the two men have had, Marshall concluded, “While I have no reason to believe that [Carr is] actually biased or compromised, I agree that other fair-minded persons might question [his] neutrality based on the information that [he] provided in the letter and during our private conversations.”

Marshall explained that the officer who shot Bradford is either the charging officer or a vital witness in approximately 20 cases pending with Carr’s office.

“A fair-minded Defendant (or family member) in those cases could question whether you and/or your prosecutors are biased in favor of protecting the officer from prosecution because the officer’s testimony may be important in his or her case,” Marshall wrote to Carr.

Marshall also outlined that Carr acknowledged personal relationships with multiple activists protesting the death of Bradford, “which could lead a fair-minded person to question [Carr’s] bias in favor of indictment [of the officer].”

During the press conference, Marshall referred to pictures publicly circulating of Carr and at least one prominent protester, seemingly referencing the subject of this Yellowhammer News article about Carlos Chaverst, Jr.

Marshall also called Carr a “friend” and advised that he had great respect for him as a career prosecutor.

The bottom line of Marshall taking over the cases is that Carr has potential conflicts, or at least perceived conflicts, that could tarnish the integrity of the Bradford case regardless of the outcome of the investigation, meaning whether or not the officer is found to be criminally in the wrong.

“We determined that in the interest of fairness and justice for all involved, our office would exercise jurisdiction,” Marshall advised.

The National Prosecution Standards rule that Marshall cited dictates the following:

The prosecutor should excuse himself or herself from any investigation, prosecution, or other matter where personal interests of the prosecutor would cause a fair-minded, objective observer to conclude that the prosecutor’s neutrality, judgment, or ability to administer the law in an objective manner may be compromised.

Marshall, who was the district attorney in Marshall County from 2001 until he became attorney general in February 2017, also stressed that his office understood the sensitivity and importance of the cases.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear: we understand the gravity of the situation we are now exercising jurisdiction of,” Marshall said.

He added that the team at the attorney general’s office has handled similar cases in the past and are in the best position to handle the situation with the utmost professionalism.

Investigations are currently underway by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). SBI is a division of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Erron Brown has been arrested and charged with attempted murder already for allegedly shooting Wilson.

Watch the press conference:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Del Marsh files bill to give immunity for saving animals from hot car deaths

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) announced Tuesday that he has filed a bill that would give immunity to any person in Alabama who rescues an animal from a car if they believe that the life of that animal is at risk.

“This is a simple bill, but one that is critical especially as the weather begins to warm up here in Alabama,” Marsh said in a statement. “As I travel around my district and even across the state, I have heard from many people that this is an issue that is very important to them.”

If enacted, this bill, SB61, would only allow for immunity from prosecution if a person believes the life of the animal in a hot car is in danger and breaks into the car to rescue them. Before attempting the rescue, a person must contact police or animal control to inform them of the situation and remain at the scene until authorities arrive to investigate.

“This bill is to protect people who are doing the right thing and trying to rescue an animal whose life is in danger,” Marsh added.

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The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

RELATED: Marsh’s bill to help build Trump’s wall receives committee approval

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

Del Marsh moves to end Common Core in Alabama

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) filed a bill Tuesday that would repeal Common Core in the Yellowhammer State.

In a video, Marsh explained his bold move, which had not been anticipated by state political observers.

He said the bill would “eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama.”

Marsh said, “In the past, I have let our [state] school board, who dictates education policy, have Common Core in place. But after ten years, the state of Alabama is 49th in math and 46th in reading. We can’t keep going in that direction. So today, I will introduce this bill and ask my colleagues to support it so we can eliminate Common Core and start a new direction for education in the state of Alabama.”

Watch:

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Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Poarch Band of Creek Indians: McClendon lottery not ‘clean’

MONTGOMERY — After State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) Tuesday morning announced he was filing legislation to implement a lottery in Alabama, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) advised that they do not view the proposal as a “clean lottery.”

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In a statement to Yellowhammer News, the PCI’s division of governmental and public affairs outlined that they would support a “clean lottery bill,” but believe McClendon’s proposal would rob the people of Alabama of being able to properly vote on the lottery.

“We appreciate Sen. McClendon’s efforts to bring the question of whether the state should have a lottery to the forefront of this legislative session. However, the bill introduced today does not fit the definition of a ‘clean’ bill,” the PCI statement said. “It does not give citizens an opportunity to cast one vote on one issue — whether we should have a traditional lottery in our State. Instead, the bill is cluttered with provisions that will expand private gaming operations in a few parts of the state owned by a handful of individuals. It also demands that any vote on a lottery include a vote on video lottery terminals, which are also commonly known as ‘slot machines.'”

“We continue to support a truly ‘clean’ lottery bill that gives the citizens of Alabama the opportunity to decide a single issue — whether or not to have a lottery — by casting a single vote. The bill that was introduced today is not that,” the statement concluded.

PCI Tribal Chair Stephanie Bryan recently penned an op-ed advocating that the people of Alabama should be allowed to vote on a lottery-only proposal.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Internet rebellion against Rebuild Alabama runs out of gas

If you are a consumer of social media, talk radio or the Internet in general, you probably have seen the anger the Rebuild Alabama gas tax increase stirred among your friends.

Claims that voters will remember this gas tax increase in 2020 may be true, but the politicians who voted “yes” are banking on two things: short memories and apathy.

As mentioned above, the next election cycle doesn’t kick off in earnest for almost three years, which is a long time in an era with a President Donald Trump re-election campaign sucking up all the air in the room and filling up your Uncle’s Facebook feed.

The apathy part is already in play. Sure, it’s easy to be mad, but what about action to “right the wrong?” That seems harder.

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Failed candidate for Alabama State House and businessman Tom Fredricks has launched a GoFundMe account to challenge the law’s Port of Mobile provision and to say that it is not working is an understatement.

This is important because the campaign has received tens of thousands of views, thousands of likes, engagements, retweets, favorites, comments and shares, but that has not translated into a financial success.

If supportive Internet comments had any financial value, this would be a different story.

But, alas, supportive Internet posts have no value and while the goal of the account is $100,000 dollars, as of the writing of this article, it has raised a grand total of $1,000.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

18 hours ago

Court: Alabama can’t keep its lethal injection method secret

A federal appeals court sided with news media organizations Monday in ruling that Alabama cannot keep its lethal injection protocol secret from the public.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected Alabama’s argument that its execution method is not a court record and thus should remain secret.

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“Judicial records provide grounds upon which a court relies in deciding cases, and thus the public has a valid interest in accessing these records to ensure the continued integrity and transparency of our governmental and judicial offices,” the court stated in its ruling.

At issue is what the court described as the botched execution of Doyle Hamm on Feb. 22, 2018.

The court said that after several failed attempts to insert a needle into his veins, the execution was called off as midnight approached.

The Associated Press and other news outlets then sought the state’s execution protocol and related records.

“Alabama is the most secretive state in the country with respect to its protocol,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

“The intense secrecy has obvious problems,” he said. “The Doyle Hamm case is one classic example of that because the difficulties in finding a vein all happen out of the view of the public.”

Representatives of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday’s decision, so it was not known whether they would appeal.

Alabama could ask the appeals court for reconsideration of the case, or appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Dunham said.

The state also could ask for a stay of Monday’s ruling as appeals play out, he said.

Monday’s decision upheld a federal judge’s ruling last year that the public has “a common law right of access” to the records.

In that May 2018 ruling, U.S. Judge Karon Bowdre decided that some information can remain secret in the interest of security, such as the names of low-level prison employees involved in executions.

Last year’s ruling found that the execution protocol and related records “clearly concern a matter of great public concern, i.e., how Alabama carries out its executions,” the appeals court wrote in Monday’s ruling.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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