Anorak News | Death Row Is Not A Perfect World

Death Row Is Not A Perfect World

by | 26th, March 2007

untitled1.JPGEVERY criminal, especially one on death row, is entitled to a lawyer, right? Wrong, if you are unfortunate enough to be awaiting execution in Alabama.

“Perhaps, in a perfect world, every inmate would have a lawyer at the ready at all times,” Alabama’s attorney general was quoted in the New York Times. “But we live in the real world.”

In Alabama’s real world if you on death row you are more than likely to be poor. And if you are poor there’s no way in hell that the good ‘ole boys will waste state funds defending your sorry ass.

Instead, inmates are forced to defend themselves. They are given access to a prison law library and expected to file petitions themselves. Not surprisingly, many petitions are thrown out because of procedural errors.

If the initial petition isn’t thrown out, inmates are eligible for a state-funded lawyer. But since the state doesn’t want to make the process too easy, they have capped the lawyer’s compensation at a total $1,000 (or about £550) for hundreds of hours of work.

The story made the New York Times today because Alabama’s inmates are bringing a class action suit against the state requesting the right to a lawyer.

Posted: 26th, March 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink