In the ongoing drama with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is taking away litigation authority from the ADOC and moving it to his office.
On Thursday, ADOC announced Marshall was removing the "assistant attorney general" designation of ADOC's six attorneys.
In September 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey asked Marshall to stop seeking executions until a "top-to-bottom review of the state's execution process" could be completed. This came after ADOC hosted several botched executions, two of which were called off due to time constraints.
In December 2022, Marshall said it was common for members of his office to be present in multiple courtrooms on days when the state had scheduled an execution. The cause, according to Marshall, is a strategy by defense attorneys to "run out the clock" while they wait for the death warrant to expire.
To combat this tactic, the Alabama Supreme Court abolished the one-day time frame to carry out a death sentence. Instead, the governor will set a time window for the execution.
Marshall removing the status from ADOC attorneys is the most recent in an ongoing drama with Alabama's prison system.
"We will not speculate about the impact the AG's decision will have on the ADOC, but I am confident in the ability of our Legal Division to protect the interests of this department throughout this transition," ADOC commissioner John Hamm said in a statement. "We will continue to focus on the critical mission of the ADOC — to provide public safety through the secure confinement, rehabilitation, and reentry of offenders,"
ADOC has been under the spotlight in recent years after the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state for its prison conditions in 2020.
The DOJ demanded that ADOC add 2,000 additional officers in the federal suit. Despite increased bonuses for prison officers, ADOC has not been able to meet the federal requirements thus far.
In tandem with the staffing shortages, several ADOC officers have been fired and charged with bribery, receiving bribes and bringing contraband into prisons.
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