Charges dropped against Alabama mom whose unborn child died during shooting

An Alabama district attorney dismissed all charges against a mother who was charged with manslaughter following a shooting that resulted in her unborn child’s death. Jones’ attorney Mark White said in a statement that the case was “neither reasonable nor just.”

In regards to her decision to dismiss, Jefferson County District Attorney Lynneice Washington said, “The members of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case.”

The case highlights the ongoing issue of legal “fetal personhood.” This concept treats unborn children as individuals with Constitutional protection. Alabama is one out of almost 40 states where charges can be filed when a fetus dies under a fetal homicide law.

Read full story >>

Alabama newspaper editor calls for KKK “to night ride again”

NBC News — Goodloe Sutton, publisher of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, confirmed on Monday that he was the author of an editorial calling for the Klu Klux Klan to night ride against “Democrats in the Republican party and Democrats [who] are plotting to raise taxes.”

The editorial titled, “Klan needs to ride again,” ran in a printed edition of the Democrat-Reporter on February 14. When reporters with the Montgomery Advertiser asked Sutton to elaborate on his statements, he responded:

“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

In response to the editorial, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. tweeted “I have seen what happens when we stand by while people – especially those with influence – publish racist, hateful views. Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!”

Read the full article >>

Birmingham’s first black sheriff, court officials rethink US policing

Birmingham, Alabama pinned on a map

AL.COM (AP) — In a state where conservative politicians typically preach about getting tough on crime, the new sheriff of Jefferson County Alabama, veteran law enforcement officer Mark Pettway, ran and won on an alternative message. He favors decriminalizing marijuana, opposes arming school employees, supports additional jailhouse education programs to reduce recidivism and plans for deputies to go out and talk to people more often, rather than just patrolling.

Pettway became the first black person elected sheriff in Birmingham on the same day voters elected the community’s first black district attorney. Sheriff Pettway sees himself as part of a new wave of officers and court officials tasked with enforcing laws and rebuilding community trust fractured by police shootings, mass incarceration, and uneven enforcement that critics call racist.

Read the full article here >>

Surviving Alabama’s death row

racial justiceWhen he was 29, Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of the murders of two fast-food managers in Birmingham, Alabama and sentenced to death row. He was finally freed in 2015 after serving 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Now 61, he’s written a book about his experiences, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. Hinton talked to Slate about his experience and his new book:

It didn’t matter that he had a good alibi. It didn’t matter that he passed a polygraph test. A racially biased prosecutor presenting faulty evidence that Hinton’s mother’s gun was used in the crimes, and aided by Hinton’s own contemptuous and incompetent defense counsel, won a conviction anyway.

Read more about Hinton and his new book at Slate.com.

What it’s like to spend 30 years on death row

Anthony Ray Hinton spent 30 years on death row in Alabama for a crime he didn’t commit. Hinton says proposed changes to the state’s post-conviction procedures by the Alabama legislature would mean he would have been executed if they had been in place, despite his innocence. Hinton’s first-person account is available here at al.com.