Miriam Shehane, Vocal Founder
Sheriff Derrick Cunningham, Montgomery County Sheriff
Katherine Robertson, Chief Counsel Attorney General's Office
Jerry Renfroe, Vocal Member
Diane Walden, Victim Representative
Lynneice Washington, District Attorney 10th Judicial Circuit
Mike Weaks, Member-at-Large
Tommy James, Tommy James Law
CJ Robinson, Chief Deputy District Attorney 19th Judicial Circuit
Donna Bush, Victim Representative
Samantha Stevenson, Victim Service Officer
Jessica Childs, Criminal Justice Instructor
Vonciel Dodson, Victim Representative
Chief Zedrick Dean, Montgomery Police Department
Definition of Activist Jurisprudence
In the last few years victims of crime and leniency, not the organization but the actual victims, have been subjected to mounting obstacles in the pursuit of justice in this State and Country. It does not matter the side of the political spectrum. On one side justice is a money issue. If it costs too much then let’s legislate it away. The other side, victims are merely a hindrance and are of no concern because we have criminals to protect. Those two activist sides of the same coin often join hands and can be observed in various branches of government acting in concert to the detriment of victims and true justice. However, recently the definition of agenda driven jurisprudence was on display. In a long and disturbingly worded order an Alabama Judge illustrated true activism while accusing fellow judges of political pandering.
The order, short on legal reasoning, and full of quotes from agenda driven anti-victim and anti-death penalty advocates, voided Alabama’s death penalty statute. Not only will this order adversely affect that case it could potentially have an adverse effect on all pending capital cases in Alabama. That was the agenda and the mission was accomplished.
In the judge’s order there was no mention of the plight of victims or their families. One hopes that victims are given more consideration while in the judge’s courtroom than in the judge’s diatribe. There are inflammatory accusations made about other Alabama trial judges and the Alabama appellate courts without a shred of truthful evidence. One hopes the judge bases decisions in the actual case on the truthful facts and not on anti-victim and anti-death penalty activist’s rhetoric. The judge spends much energy lamenting and repeating the misconception most criminal defendants are allegedly indigent and don’t have the financial resources to adequately defend themselves. Nevertheless, the judge then admits that capital defendants and their attorneys (plural intended) have court ordered and taxpayer financed UNLIMITED defense funding. One hopes the judge knows the true facts: that of the over 15,000 lawyers in the State of Alabama, approximately 400 are prosecutors and that the money appropriated for attorneys to defend criminal defendants in the State of Alabama dwarfs the funding for prosecutors. (The State of Alabama funds the District Attorneys 28 million; Indigent Defense 45 million). In fact the annual funding for indigent defense in Alabama is MORE than the funding for both prosecutors and forensic sciences combined. (The State of Alabama funds forensic science 10 mil).
The authorities cited by the judge are very telling as the majority of them are directly from advocates for anti-victim and anti-death penalty causes. The most troubling aspect of the judge’s order is that it not only relies on these biased activist groups for its conclusions but the order repeats similar phrases and rhetoric that these anti-death penalty anti-victim groups use routinely. There is nothing hidden here, it is activism from the bench.
The judge offers little legal reasoning and what is offered is blatantly biased, limited and is terribly flawed. VOCAL agrees and supports the efforts of District Attorney Brandon Falls and the capital division of the Attorney General in appealing this order. VOCAL will continue its fight for victims and will continue its fight against leniency by actively speaking out on this type of anti-victim judicial activism.
VOCAL Board of Directors