View Full Version : Parole law changes in works

07-19-2004, 07:32 AM
Parole law changes in works

By Bob Johnson
The Associated Press

Attorney General Troy King believes it's wrong that a murderer ordered to serve back-to-back life sentences plus another 10,000 years in prison could be considered for parole after only 10 years.

King told The Associated Press he wants the Legislature to change a state law that allows many criminals to be considered for parole after 10 years, even when they are given long, multiple prison terms to be served consecutively.

"We're looking at what we can do to clarify the statute and make it clear that it's not supposed to work this way," King said. "Certainly in my view it's wrong to ask families to continue to endure these strings of hearings."

King's concern was raised by the case of Dudley Wayne Kyzer, who is scheduled to be considered for parole today. Kyzer was sentenced to two life terms plus 10,000 years for a 1976 triple murder in Tuscaloosa -- and the sentences were ordered to be served one after the other, not at the same time.

He originally was sentenced to death for capital murder, but was retried after Alabama's death penalty was struck down.

Kyzer, now 63, was convicted of gunning down his estranged wife, Emily Dianne Kyzer, 29, her mother, Eunice Barringer, 54, and 21-year-old college student Richard Pyron. He has been up for parole hearings previously, but the latest hearing drew a protest letter from the Tuscaloosa prosecutor and news media attention.

Cynthia Dillard, a spokeswoman for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, has said Kyzer is eligible for a parole hearing because of a state law that allows a prisoner to be considered for parole after serving one-third of his sentence, or 10 years, whichever is less, no matter if the inmate has consecutive or concurrent sentences. She said this was approved in a 2001 advisory opinion from then-Attorney General Bill Pryor's office.

King said he is reviewing the law and expects to recommend legislation that would change when a person with lengthy or consecutive sentences is eligible for parole. Even though the parole board routinely denies parole for heinous crimes like those committed by Kyzer, King said he doesn't want to keep taking that chance.

"They likely won't release him, but the state will put a lot of resources into assuring that he's not released," King said.

Arnold Mills of Tuscaloosa, whose sister, Barringer, was killed by Kyzer, said he prays that King is successful in getting the law changed. He said Kyzer already has had several parole hearings even though family members of his victims thought Kyzer would never be up for parole when he received the life sentences plus 10,000 years.

"Lord of Mercy. It would be a dream come true and an answer to prayers not to have to go through this every few years and having to relive all of the gruesome details of the murders," Mills, 71, said Friday.

Because the rules regarding the death penalty were unclear at the time, after Kyzer's second trial prosecutors asked for a prison sentence that would keep Kyzer locked up for life -- and the jury obliged with two consecutive life sentences plus 10,000 years.

"It was the jury's intention that this man never be released from prison. I think we ought to pay attention to them," Mills said.

The Sentencing Commission, created by the Legislature at the request of Pryor, began work four years ago to try to bring uniformity to sentences for similar crimes.

State Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia, a member of the commission and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said part of the discussion has been making sentences more realistic.

"Give them the sentence that they are actually going to serve," Black said. He said it's not fair to families of victims or inmates to bring them down to Montgomery for parole hearings every few years, when it's unlikely the prisoner will be paroled.

07-19-2004, 08:31 AM
ok isnt 10,000 years a little dumb. i mean come on.

07-19-2004, 11:39 AM
why not just say "we're sending you to prison and you're never getting out EVER" instead of wasting time on someone that has no chance of getting out and spending on someone who has a chance then maybe there would'nt be such a long backlog. yeah 10,000 years is a little far fetched. 100 is more like it then if he lived that long he would'nt be a threat to anyone except medicare.

07-19-2004, 12:00 PM
agreed...i just hate to see King do anything. Hes such an extremist...i could really see him making parole an almost imposible thing for ALL of them....


07-19-2004, 01:36 PM
Youre right denise, King is flaky as a biscuit! If hes not being flaky hes, cryin in his beer over not getting his way......and yes its obvious that whoever did the sentencing on that case was highly emotionally charged and not thinking about the fact that it not only looked ridiculas on paper but sounds pretty stupid too...."Denise I now sentence you to do not only my dishes but EVERYONE on PTO's dishes for the rest of your natural born life" see just how ridiculas that sounds? im getting used to the justice system making a fool of its own needs no assistance

07-20-2004, 07:16 AM
No parole for triple murderer

By Bob Johnson
The Associated Press

An inmate sentenced to two life prison terms plus 10,000 years for a 1976 triple murder in Tuscaloosa was denied parole Monday -- the eighth time in a case raising questions about Alabama's parole law.

The State Board of Pardons and Parole rejected parole for Dudley Wayne Kyzer, now 63. He will be eligible for parole again in July 2009 -- the ninth time, despite being ordered to serve his lengthy sentences consecutively.

Kyzer was ordered to serve the terms one after the other for gunning down his ex-wife, Emily Dianne Kyzer, 29, her mother, Eunice Barringer, 54, and college student Richard Pyron, 21.

Tuscaloosa District Attorney Thomas M. Smith drew attention to Kyzer's case, writing a letter to the board contending it could not release him because he was sentenced to consecutive terms, not concurrent. The parole board has said state law sets parole consideration at one-third of the sentence, or 10 years, whichever is less.

Smith said Monday he will work with Attorney General Troy King in trying to get legislation to change the rules for parole eligibility. But he said he believes under current law, when sentences are being served consecutively, each sentence should be considered separately and not all as one sentence.

During an emotional hearing Monday, family members of the victims told board members they fear for their lives if Kyzer is ever released and that the jury gave him the 10,000-year sentence to assure he would never be released.

Richard Pyron's mother, Joyce Gail Pyron, told the board about her son, who was a senior at UA and scheduled to graduate the next spring. She said her son had been hoping to get "a real classy suit" for Christmas to wear on job interviews.

"He was buried in his real classy suit," she said.

Arnold Mills, Barringer's brother, said Kyzer threatened his ex-wife and mother-in-law numerous times before the killings and has threatened other family members since then.

"Please don't give him a chance to make another nightmare come true," Mills said.

Testifying in behalf of Kyzer were Joe Lake and William Fred Sherrill, who said they had known him most of their life. They described Kyzer as a changed man who is now a Christian.

"He has very much expressed remorse and said he's sorry for those things," Sherrill said.

Kyzer was sentenced to two life terms plus 10,000 years for the triple murder -- and the sentences were ordered to be served one after the other, not at the same time.

He originally was sentenced to death for capital murder, but was retried after Alabama's death penalty was struck down. King has said he wants the Legislature to change a state law that allowed Kyzer to be considered for parole despite the heinous nature of his crimes and the fact that he was sentenced to serve back-to-back sentences. "We're looking at what we can do to clarify the statute and make it clear that it's not supposed to work this way," King said. "Certainly in my view it's wrong to ask families to continue to endure these strings of hearings."

07-21-2004, 06:45 AM
Parole review important step

The intent of jury and judge could scarcely be clearer. The sentence for a man convicted in a triple murder was back-to-back life sentences, plus 10,000 years. Overkill? Maybe so, but there was certainly a message being sent here.

Yet in spite of that message, the convicted individual came up for parole consideration this week. Dudley Wayne Kyzer was not paroled. It is unlikely that he will ever be. Even so, his case is an example cited by Attorney General Troy King in his call for changes in the law that allow parole consideration for prisoners whose sentences clearly indicate that they should never leave prison.

"They likely won't release him, but the state will put a lot of resources into assuring that he's not released," King said.

Kyzer was originally sentenced to death in the 1976 slayings, but when Alabama's death penalty statute was struck down, he got a new trial. He was convicted again, but because of uncertainty over the validity of the capital punishment law, prosecutors asked for and got a sentence they believed unquestionably would keep Kyzer in prison for the remainder of his life.

It almost certainly will do that, but the families of his victims are still subjected to periodic parole hearings which open their wounds afresh and revive the awful memories of the crime that took their loved ones.

Changes in the law are obviously needed. Under a 2001 advisory opinion from the attorney general's office, the Board of Pardons and Paroles is obliged to consider an inmate for parole once he or she has completed one-third of the sentence or spent 10 years behind bars, whichever period of time is less. The fact that an inmate, as in Kyzer's case, has consecutive, not concurrent, sentences is not deemed relevant.

King is reviewing the law with an eye toward seeking legislation that would change parole eligibility for inmates with lengthy or consecutive sentences. That is well worth pursuing. The sort of heinous crimes which result in sentences like Kyzer's inherently argue against parole. Why should families of victims have to worry that parole might someday be granted, or to feel that they must be prepared to oppose paroles every few years?

"It would be a dream come true and an answer to prayers not to have to go through this every few years and having to relive all the gruesome details of the murders," said Arnold Mills of Tuscaloosa, whose sister was killed by Kyzer. Surely a careful revision of the law could eliminate that painful imposition without endangering the legitimate parole considerations of other inmates

07-21-2004, 09:48 AM
Meaningful sentences

Law must be changed to end needless parole hearings
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Monday, Dudley Wayne Kyzer, serving two life sentences plus 10,000 years for a triple murder in 1976, was reviewed for parole.

Of course, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to grant Kyzer release, which surprised nobody.
But except for a misguided state law, Kyzer's case wouldn't even be taking up the time of the parole board, or of the victims' relatives, or of prosecutors. The state law requires that a prisoner be considered for parole after serving one-third of his sentence, or 10 years, whichever is less. It doesn't matter if the inmate has concurrent or consecutive sentences.

It doesn't even matter if the inmate, after two consecutive life sentences, still has another 10,000 years to go on his sentence, like Kyzer. Under state law, the inmate gets a parole hearing.

Attorney General Troy King is absolutely right in pledging to work toward changing that law.

With state prisons dangerously overcrowded, some prisoners must be released. But certain crimes call for full sentences, and Kyzer's is one of those. Kyzer must remain in prison as punishment for his heinous crimes and because he's a threat to society.

Alabama's sentencing laws need to be reformed. This year, the Alabama Sentencing Commission suggested sentencing reforms, but the Legislature didn't have time to act on the proposals.

One problem in Alabama is that an offense in one county may get a 10- or 12-year sentence, while in another county the same offense gets a one- or two-year sentence.

Sentences should be fair and consistent, but they also should mean something. If somebody gets 10 years, that should mean 10 years, or most of 10 years. If a crime is worth 15 years, the criminal should serve the greater part of 15 years.

And if somebody commits such a vicious crime that he draws two life sentences plus 10,000 years, well, that inmate never should walk out of prison to freedom again.

Parole hearings for those inmates are a waste of time, and state law shouldn't require that time be wasted.

07-23-2004, 07:23 PM
I for one am concerned about the ramifications of new legislation that would cause EVERY inmate sentenced to a life sentence for what was termed a "heinous" crime to serve the entire number of years... There are many cases, such as my husband's in which an inmate was convicted and "labeled" a violent offender in the system and they are stereotyped wrongfully. My husband was convicted of "First Degree Pre-meditated Murder" on a case that should have been Manslaughter. He was "labeled" as having committed a "heinous" crime on paperwork...but there was nothing "pre-meditated" in his situation and he is certainly NOT a violent man! But...because he's now "catergorized" the way he was...(mostly the result of a lot of Political Grandstanding and political favors from powerful people)...he will be affected by such new legislation as well. I am torn...because I realize the need for some kind of changes such as in the case being mentioned here,...and yet, I have to worry about what that will mean for us. My husband is the most Godly man I have ever met on the inside or out! I have stood by him now for the 24 yrs he's been imprisoned and I long to have him make parole and come home to me! Can anyone understand where I am coming from here? Thanks for your responses.


07-24-2004, 08:01 AM
standing i can see your point. i think the important thing that these people should keep in mind is the sentence the inmate received. if it wasnt specified in the sentence that he shouldnt receive parole, then he should be eligible to go up. why didnt they just sentence this guy to life without parole? thats what i dont get. that would have made more sense that 10,000 years but yet he's supposed to go up for parole every 4 years?

07-26-2004, 07:13 AM
TRUTH IN SENTENCING....Would stop this...yes it will take years. I come to live with the fact that Kenny wil EOS in 2006 after 19 years but at this point I'm more concerned with all those that come after him. I look around at visitation and see all the young men that i'm sure got "bad" sentencing and it makes me feel sick...

We've had the sentencing committee for what 3 years now?, and our legislaturors (sp?) has done nothing but overlook everything they try to do...sometimes i think that until there is a "HUGE" lawsuit against the DOC and/or BOP nothing is going change.....

07-26-2004, 09:08 AM
Fix the parole-hearing process, but carefully

Sunday, July 25, 2004

AT FIRST glance, the Dudley Wayne Kyzer case looks like easy pickings for critics of Alabama's sentencing and parole system. Why is a man who killed three people in Tuscaloosa, and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus another 10,000 years, coming up for parole every five years?

The jury clearly intended that Mr. Kyzer stay in prison until he dies. The victims' families ought not to have to be tormented by repeated parole hearings or the remote possibility that he could be released. Sentencing reform is badly needed in Alabama, and here is a prime example. this is true. But the Kyzer case is also a prime example of why sentencing and parole reform is so complicated.

Mr. Kyzer, now 63, was convicted of shooting and killing his estranged wife, her mother and a college student in 1976. He was sentenced to death, but Alabama's death penalty law of that era was subsequently struck down. Mr. Kyzer was retried, and jurors recommended a sentence they surely thought would keep him locked up.

Since then, however, Mr. Kyzer has come up for parole eight times. Each time, as happened last week, he's been denied. But under the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles' regulations, he'll be up for parole again in 2009. Here's why.

Eradicating irregularities :

The Pardons and Paroles board was created in 1939 to ensure that each prisoner received an evaluation of his or her case and whether it merited early release. A systematic evaluation process was needed because prisoners were being treated unequally, said Hugh Davis, a staff attorney for the board. (For example, he said, a well-behaved but poorly educated prisoner might be overlooked for consideration.)

In 1951, based on an attorney general's opinion, the Legislature made several changes because of irregularities involving the board. Up to then, the board could turn someone loose at any point in his or sentence; now, unless the vote was unanimous, the board would have to wait until the prisoner had served one-third or 10 years of the sentence, whichever was less.

In 2000, the board's practice of holding "screening hearings" was struck down by the courts because it violated a state law that victims had to be notified of all hearings. In the screening hearings, according to Mr. Davis, the board would consider batches of inmates who were technically due for parole hearings but were unlikely to be released. Victims or their families as well as prosecutors were supposed to be notified if an inmate was referred for a second hearing after the screening hearing.

Ultimately, 90 or more prisoners were turned loose, without victims being notified of the screening hearings, between September 1999 and the court ruling. (One of those released from prison was Benjamin F. Cox, a former Ku Klux Klan member who was serving 99 years for his involvement in the 1981 murder of 19-year-old Michael Donald of Mobile. Mr. Cox had nearly 88 years left to go on his sentence.)

The board's regulations call for parole hearings at a maximum of every five years. It used to be every three years, but the board changed its regulations in 2001.

Easier said than done :

Such changes, said Mr. Davis, must be made with care in order not to violate the U.S. Constitution's "ex post facto clause," which prevents laws from being passed that retroactively change the legal consequences of an action.

The board's position is that, because of several U.S. Supreme Court rulings, it can incrementally increase the time between parole hearings, according to Mr. Davis. But several prisoners have already challenged the two-year increase in Alabama courts, and the board wants to see if that change will be upheld before proceeding further, he said.

The upshot is that Mr. Kyzer will continue to be considered for parole, and the families of his victims will continue to be notified of his hearings, unless the Pardons and Paroles Board can find a way to change its regulations that will stand up in court.

None of these circumstances negates the need for sentencing reform -- just the opposite. Comprehensive sentencing reform has failed to get through the Legislature, as have individual initiatives to increase the length of time criminals like Mr. Kyzer must serve before they can even be considered for parole.

Attorney General Troy King has vowed to try again, and he should. One of the biggest flaws in the whole system is that too many prisoners convicted of violent or other serious crimes serve too little of their sentences.

At the same time, the prison system is under tremendous pressure to relieve overcrowding by relocating and releasing prisoners who pose little risk to society. Also, any legislation that changes parole eligibility must stand up to constitutional challenge, and likely will have to "grandfather" prisoners sentenced before any new law passes.

Unfortunately, even these necessary changes may not help current victims or their families, who have to relive the agony of a crime every few years and who feel that if they don't speak out, again and again, against the person who did it, that criminal might be released.

07-26-2004, 09:12 AM
Closing a big loophole

We think: Multiple life sentences ought to be longer than 10 years
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Huntsville Times
When the criminal justice system sends a person to prison for "life," the sentence usually reflects the seriousness of the crime. But a loophole in Alabama law could allow multiple murderers out on parole after just 10 years. It hasn't happened yet, but Attorney General Troy King is taking no chances.

King wants the Legislature to amend the law to eliminate a provision that says a person is eligible for parole after serving one-third of a sentence or after 10 years, whichever is less. It's that latter phrase that's causing concern.

One such case cited by prosecutors involveds a man sentenced to consecutive life terms plus 10,000 years for killing three people in Tuscaloosa in 1976. Under the law, the consecutive life terms, not to mention the 10,000 years, are overridden by the 10-year eligibility provision. inmates who apply for parole under such circumstances rarely receive it from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, they could. Who's to say what may happen since the members of the board are political appointees? The current board pardoned a former state senator convicted of a white-collar crime, and it did so merely because he had powerful friends.

Some crimes are so brutal that the people who commit them must be confined for life, to protect society and to bring some peace of mind to the family of the victim.

Lifetime incarceration is a powerful argument against the death penalty. But 10 years makes a mockery of it.

07-26-2004, 10:21 AM
i emailed the southern center for human rights and asked them if there are lawsuits concerning the al doc going on right now.. a very nice woman replied and to my surprise, there really arent any at all.. she said there's one about diabetes patients getting their meds, but thats about it.. can you believe that...

07-26-2004, 10:59 AM
This is crazy, and for people here at PTO that this law "could affect" I am sorry that you have to think about that. Yhis man's sentence was supposed to obviously mean he never be released but now every 4 years he goes up for parole. I am positive that this hearing takes about 10x's longer than any other b/c all of the people on both the victim's and inmates side want to talk along with the board and this King guy and now who ever else is involved b/c of this so called "loophole", when this backlogs everyone else that was supposed to eligable on a certain date are waiting for 6 months or more b/c of this kind of stuff that should have been taken care of when he was sentenced by the judge(obviously he was a blooming idiot for the 10,000 years addon). Not only the back up but it's makes all these families relive what they had probably already grieved for and started to come to terms with losing there loved one. C'mon Alabama Get Your S*$!@ Together. Quit wasting the taxpayer's hard earned $$$'s on your mistakes!!!!

07-26-2004, 05:59 PM
The only thing I don't like about this being changed is it could affect some that have been over sentenced. They deserve a chance to come up for parole after they have done a third of their time. Is this change Troy King is talking about going to affect those that have been "labeled violent" criminals because that's the way the D.A.'s wanted it? If so it could really spell trouble for alot of us with loved ones unfairly labeled violent. We are still waiting on our "break." I hope this don't happen like this because it's hard enough trying to convince the parole board they are not violent. They say they have to go by what they are charged with and you all know any D.A. is going to go for the biggest and best charge he can dish out just so he will be
re-elected by the "get tough on crimers" out there.