[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----ALABAMA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jul 20 20:08:17 CDT 2007
Guilty of a crime, or of being poor?
If you will ...
Picture yourself, sitting on a cold
Stainless steel commode in a cage,
Head bowed, waiting to grieve.
When suddenly, a rat and a cockroach go by.
Scurrying along in their train come the warden,
The prison commissioner, the governor
And the attorney general.
Bereft, you continue the process of grieving
As these ... break their contemptuous, yet
Fearful stride through the facility, pausing
To stare fascinated at this particular cage of ...
Be dignified, as you complete those personal
Rituals of grief. - "A Thrilling Proposition" by Darrell Grayson
Darrell Grayson will die without justice next Thursday if Gov. Bob Riley
doesn't take action.
Grayson, who along with Victor Kennedy was convicted of the 1980 rape and
murder of 86-year-old Annie Orr, has been on Death Row for 25 years. But
because Grayson's conviction has been tainted, Riley and the state should
be uncomfortable with proceeding with his execution.
An affidavit from one of the men who had been playing cards and drinking
with Grayson said that Grayson was passed out, drunk and high, when the
crime was committed. Grayson also had no prior record. And there was no
DNA evidence linking him to the crimes.
But none of that mattered because Grayson didn't have the money to pay a
private lawyer to defend him. The court had to appoint him a public
defender. And the state of Alabama severely limited payments to public
defenders for research and investigation at the time that Grayson was on
So the real reason that Grayson may be killed by the state of Alabama next
Thursday is that he is poor.
"One of the problems we faced in this case is the fact that I was only
given $500 to hire experts and carry out any other trial expenses
associated with the case," said Richard W. Bell, Grayson's trial and
appeal attorney, in a letter to Gov. Riley. "It was always problematical
in my mind as to what exactly caused the death of Ms. Orr due to the fact
that her hands were not bound, she was not traumatized and was not
rendered unconscious by any type of drug or substance.
"Once again, I must emphasize the importance of the lack of adequate
funding which terribly prohibited my efforts to defend Mr. Grayson in this
matter. If I had had the necessary funds available for expert witnesses
who could have presented contradictory evidence as to the cause of death
... the jury's decision could have been quite different."
This doesn't mean that Grayson would have been found innocent. According
to trial records, Grayson and Kennedy had been planning to rob Annie Orr
for some time.
But planning a robbery - or even committing one - is not rape or murder.
It isn't a capital crime. Had Grayson's attorney been able to represent
him adequately, Grayson may well not be facing death now.
Bell ended his letter to Riley by asking the governor to commute Grayson's
sentence to life without parole. He didn't ask for a pardon; neither, as
far as I know, has Grayson.
"In my opinion, justice must be fairly administered to all persons and to
allow them to have the resources equal to the resources to the state of
Alabama when a life is at stake," Bell said. "This was not done in this
case and it was intentional by the Legislature of the state of Alabama to
severely limit and prohibit a valid and effective defense for indigent
individuals. Darrell Grayson was caught in the trap of poverty."
It may not be an injustice that Grayson has done prison time. But it
certainly is unjust for Alabama to kill a man simply because he is poor.
(source: Huntsville Times)
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