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Old 04-28-2003, 06:42 PM
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danielle danielle is offline
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Post Lawmaker says pardons granted for racial reasons

Lawmaker says pardons granted for racial reasons

The Associated Press
4/28/03 6:49 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A state lawmaker has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Alabama Pardons and Paroles Board, claiming the board discriminates against blacks in the granting of pardons.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, said at a news conference Monday that he has studied board records from Feb. 1, 2000, to Jan. 31, 2003, and found that of 520 pardons issued, 322 went to whites, while 198 went to blacks.

Because about 64 percent of Alabama's prison population is black, he said he wants the Justice Department to bring legal action against the board for discrimination.

"If there are more blacks in prison, the majority of pardons should be going to blacks," he said.

Holmes said he did not have records showing the number of blacks and whites who applied for pardons.

Sidney Williams, the parole board's chairman, said he believed Holmes' numbers were misleading. He did not immediately have records showing the number of people who applied for pardons.

"There might be errors in the report given to Alvin," Williams said.

Williams is black and the other two board members are white. He said race does not play a role in deciding who gets a pardon.

"A big issue is whether we feel a person has adequately taken care of all his obligations," Williams said.

Holmes said the pardon numbers demonstrate the need for a bill pending in the Alabama House to automatically restore voting rights to felons after they have served their sentences and paid all fines and restitution.

The bill bogged down in the House on Thursday when Republicans filibustered, saying felons could already get voting rights restored if they applied for a pardon.

The sponsor of the proposed legislation, Rep. Yvonne Kennedy, D-Mobile, is expected to attempt to bring the bill back up on the House floor this week. Kennedy did not return a phone call to her office Monday seeking comment.

"This record has proven that a black can't go before the pardons and paroles board and get an equal chance," Holmes said.

But one of the Republicans who argued against the bill on the House floor, Rep. Mark Gaines, R-Homewood, said the pardon figures don't mean anything without knowing how many people have applied for pardons.

"I still say that just about anyone who goes down there and applies for one, can get one. I would say those who don't get a pardon are those who have gotten into trouble again," Gaines said.
Monica Danielle
On September 22, 2003, my better half came home after 657 days in an Alabama prison!!!

And he's now forever free - passing away from this life and into the next - on January 9, 2010.

My Sweet Wayne
January 21, 1954 - January 9, 2010

I'll always love you.
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