Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bill reform proposals for Alabama: HB532

117509-2:n:02/03/2010:DA/th LRS2010-760

HB532
By Representatives Fields and McAdory
RFD Judiciary
Rd 1 11-FEB-10

SYNOPSIS:Under existing law, a person convicted of capital murder is sentenced to the term of life without the possibility of parole or death.
This bill would provide that if the person convicted of a capital offense was a first-time felony offender who had no prior felony convictions at the time of the capital offense and the defendant meets certain other requirements, the sentencing/presiding judge would be required to reduce the defendant's sentence from life without the possibility of parole to life with the possibility of parole.
This bill would provide for retroactive review of offenders sentenced prior to the effective date of this act.




A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
Relating to capital offenses; to add Section 13A-5-57.1 to the Code of Alabama 1975, relating to penalties for capital offenses; to provide for the reduction of the sentence of a first-time felony offender convicted of a capital offense who meets certain requirements from life without the possibility of parole to life with the possibility of parole; and to provide for retroactive review of offenders sentenced prior to the effective date of this act.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. Section 13A-5-57.1 is added to the Code of Alabama 1975, to read as follows:
§13A-5-57.1.

(a) In all cases where it is shown that an offender had no prior felony convictions prior to being convicted of capital murder and where the offender received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for capital murder, the offender may petition a sentencing court for reconsideration of the life imprisonment without the possibility of parole sentence to be reduced to a sentence of life with the possibility of parole after the offender has served 20 years on his or her life without parole sentence.
(b) The sentencing judge, or the presiding judge of the sentencing judge if the sentencing judge is no longer sitting, shall reduce the offender's sentence from life without the possibility of parole to life with the possibility of parole provided the offender meets the following requirements:
(1) The offender has served 20 years on his or her life without the possibility of parole sentence.
(2) The offender had no felony convictions prior to being convicted of capital murder.
(3) The prison record by the offender shows no disciplinary action for assault on other inmates or Department of Corrections employees during the 10 consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the petition of the offender for a sentence reduction pursuant to this section.
(4) The prison record of the offender shows no disciplinary action for escape or attempted escape during the 10 consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the petition by the offender for a sentence reduction.
(5) The prison record of the offender shows no disciplinary action for sexual assault during 10 consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the petition by the offender for a sentence reduction.
(6) The prison record of the offender shows no disciplinary action for illegal drug or alcohol use as determined by testing positive for these substances on a urine test during the five consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the petition by the offender for a sentence reduction.

Section 2. Upon receipt of the petition pursuant to Section 1, the sentencing/presiding judge shall order the Department of Corrections to provide all necessary records to the court to assist in making this determination. The judge shall also consider documentation and records provided by the offender.

Section 3. This act shall apply to offenders sentenced after passage of this act and shall retroactively apply to offenders presently serving life without the possibility of parole.

Section 4. An offender may petition for a sentencing reduction pursuant to this act at any time after serving 20 years on his or her life without parole sentence. If the petition by the offender is denied, the offender may petition the court again every two years.

Section 5. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.