MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama House of  Representatives passed Senate Bill 187, better known as the Fair Justice Act, earlier this week.

According to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, the bill, sponsored by District 14 Senator Cam Ward, streamlines Alabama’s decades-long death row appeals process.

“The Alabama House deserves much credit for passing the Fair Justice Act to streamline lengthy death row appeals,” Marshall explained. “This legislation is about justice, and justice should be fair and swift. The Fair Justice Act takes nothing away from a death row inmate in terms of the courts reviewing his case, but streamlines the appellate process so that the direct appeal and the state post-conviction stage occur simultaneously.”

A description of the bill on Alabama’s legislative website says the bill:

“As introduced and as amended and reported by the Committee on Judiciary could reduce the administrative obligations of the district attorneys, the Attorney General, and the several courts by an undetermined amount by consolidating the appeals process for death penalty appeals, thereby reducing the amount of time required to complete the death penalty appeals process. Additionally, this bill could reduce future obligations of the Department of Corrections (DOC) by a minimum of approximately $26,000 annually for each defendant sentenced to death after the effective date of this bill who remains on death row in a DOC facility for a shortened time period under the provisions of this bill.”

According to Marshall, the average death row inmate appeal time is over 15 years and rising. He said this process needed repair and thanked the House of Representatives for passing the bill.

“Each year that these appeals drag on, the general public is further removed from and even desensitized to the horrendous crimes that led to the sentences of every individual on death row. But, for the families of victims, the pain is not numbed with the passing of years. The endless appeals process reopens their wounds again and again,” Marshall stated. “Lawmakers in both the House and Senate should be applauded for working to find a solution to extended death row appeals which delay justice.”

The bill also passed the Senate on April 18.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.