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Wall of Shame

Photo of Bill Pryor.
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor Speaks against the Innocence Protection Act: 
"If your concern is to protect the innocent from being executed, then you need not worry; it is not occurring and is highly unlikely to occur."

11 South Union, 3rd Floor, Montgomery Alabama, 36104



Congress is considering legislation, titled the Innocence Protection Act, that would establish a national commission to set minimum standards for defense attorneys appointed to represent poor people accused of capital crimes. States that didn't comply with the standards would risk losing federal funds for their prison systems. But the bill also would create a $50 million grant program for the states to improve their methods of appointing attorneys in death cases. Supporters, including more than 200 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and several senators, say the bill is necessary to prevent mistakes that could lead to the execution of an innocent person. Opponents of the bill, including U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Pryor, say it would curtail state control of its criminal justice system; give anti-death penalty activists a greater role than sit ting judges in appointing lawyers; and grind the system to a halt because the standards for competency would be unattainably high."If your concern is to protect the innocent from being executed, then you need not worry; it is not occurring and is highly unlikely to occur," Pryor told the committee. Drinkard, who was sentenced to die by a Morgan County jury in 1995 for the robbery and murder of a Decatur man, won a re-trial after the Alabama Supreme Court found certain evidence was improperly considered. He was acquitted last month. He and his newer lawyers believe Drinkard was convicted the first time because a more sophisticated analysis of a tape recording wasn't done, an alibi witness was not put on the stand and complicated medical evidence was submitted in writing instead of being explained by a doctor. "There are good ways to do it and much better ways to do it, and in capital cases, you need the much better ways," said John Mays, a Decatur lawyer who represented Drinkard in his second trial. He called Alabama's system for appointing defense counsel the "snatch them out of the hall" method. Alabama requires that a lead defense attorney in a capital case have at least five years experience, which doesn't necessarily mean they've taken a criminal case to trial or handled a capital case, Mays said. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 96 people have been set free from Death Rows around the country. The issue of inadequate defense counsel has gained momentum since the Democrats regained control of the Senate, a shift that put one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., back in charge of the judiciary committee. "It is a problem that calls into question the legitimacy of criminal convictions and undermines public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system as a whole," Leahy said.



Va. 'Regretful' on Sterilizations

FEBRUARY 15, 2001

By BILL BASKERVILL Associated Press Writer

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — In the 1940s, the state labeled Raymond W. Hudlow a``mental defective'' and surgically sterilized him. Years later, his nation honored him as a war hero, awarding him the Bronze Star for valor, the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal for service in World War II. Now the Virginia General Assembly has refused to apologize to Hudlow and the more than 7,400 other Virginians sterilized under the state's eugenics program between 1924 and 1979. ``They treated us just like hogs, like we had no feelings,'' said Hudlow, now 75. Instead, the state Senate voted Wednesday to express ``profound regret'' for the General Assembly's action 77 years ago that led to forced sterilizations. The House of Delegates already passed the resolution, and Gov. Jim Gilmore said he believes an expression of regret is sufficient. ``It seems that there's a trend in this country to rewrite history, and now we're going to go back and stir the pot on history and take some of those most unfortunate chapters in our history and relive them for no real purpose,'' Sen. Warren E. Barry said from the Senate floor. But Hudlow says the trauma inflicted on him when he was a teen-ager in the wards of the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded has never left him. He has more flashbacks about that time than the terror of combat and imprisonment by the Germans, he said. ``I remember this just as it was yesterday,'' Hudlow said. ``It has always been in my mind. It has never left me.'' Although eugenics eventually was discredited as political and social prejudice rather than scientific fact, neither Virginia nor any of the 29 other states that conducted eugenical sterilizations has ever compensated or apologized to the more than 60,000 victims. The Virginia law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927. That ruling, which still stands, led a federal judge in 1984 to throw out a class-action lawsuit filed by eugenics victims of the state. Virginia's Southern aristocracy, acting under a eugenics law that served as a model for the rest of the nation — and for Adolph Hitler — tried to purify the white race from 1924 to 1979. Targeted was virtually any human shortcoming believed to be a hereditary disease that could be stamped out by surgical sterilization, such as mental illness, mental retardation, epilepsy, criminal behavior, alcoholism and immorality. Hudlow's malady: repeatedly running away from home to avoid beatings by his father. When his father told the ``welfare lady'' that ``he couldn't control me,'' Hudlow said, his reproductive fate was sealed. He was 16 years old. ``I was picked up by the sheriff at home. He handcuffed me and took me'' to the Colony near Lynchburg, where most of Virginia's sterilizations were performed. A county judge in 1942 granted the Colony's request to sterilize Hudlow, identified in the court order as an ``inmate'' of the Colony. ``They just came and got me before I woke up one morning. They wheeled me and throwed me up on the operating table,'' he said. No one explained what they were doing, Hudlow said. ``The only way I found out, an employee on Ward 7 told me I wouldn't be able to father any children.'' Sixteen months after the operation, Hudlow was released from the Colony and was drafted into the Army. He served as the radioman for his platoon leader, was wounded and spent seven months in German prison camps. Hudlow decided to make the military a career and served 21 years in the Army and Air Force. Phil Theisen, president of the Lynchburg Depressive Disorders Association, has urged state lawmakers to make a strong, clear apology to the eugenics victims. ``This is a skeleton in the closet for Virginia that will continue to be there until it's addressed forthright,'' Theisen said. ``An apology would be a historic first, and that makes it all the more important.'' While some lawmakers supported a strong apology by the state, others, including Virginia House member Mitchell Van Yahres, said it would only draw fire.`` It carries a connotation of guilt that I don't want to be associated with,'' Van Yahres said.

Before they strap me in 'Yellow Mama,' you boys come back. I've got some more things to tell you." Those were the words of convicted killer Glenn Holladay - already on death row - as he talked with Etowah County Sheriff James Hayes and Lt. Joe Nabors of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation several years ago. Holladay, now 51, is scheduled to die in Alabama's electric chair at 12:01 a.m. Friday - 14 years to the day his murder trial began for the shooting deaths of his ex-wife, Rebecca Ledbetter Holladay; her boyfriend, David Robinson; and a 16-year-old neighbor, Larry Thomas Jr., on Aug. 25, 1986, in the Tidmore Bend community. Hayes has made an official request to again speak with Holladay before he is executed. "My concern is that he has some information that can clear up additional crimes and put some things to rest," Hayes said. "He needs to tell us what he did." A September execution date was set in 1990 but delayed because of the appeals process. Attorneys for Holladay have asked the state to grant a stay of execution, claiming he is mentally retarded. If the sentence is carried out this time, Holladay will be the first person convicted in Etowah County to die in Alabama's electric chair. District Attorney Jim Hedgspeth said he, too, plans to attend the execution. Holladay's case was Hedgspethís first capital murder trial to prosecute. "I know I don't have to go, but I feel like it's my responsibility in seeing the case through," he said. "These families are people I spent time with. I shared with them in their loss. "I hope the execution brings closure to the families and brings conclusion to what 12 people and a judge said was the measure of justice which should be meted out." Hedgspeth said Holladay's mental capability is an issue that has been raised on appeal. "He couldn't read or write, but he's not mentally retarded," Hedgspeth said. When traveling often between Miami and Chicago, Holladay never got far off the interstate. "If Glenn got too far off the interstate, he couldn't read the road signs and he'd get lost," Hedgspeth said. When he planned burglaries and he'd see a sign in a yard, he would copy the letters, then take them to someone to read for him. In a search of his car after he was arrested, a small piece of paper with a triangle drawn on it and a number on each line of the triangle was found, Hedgspeth said. "Everyone was trying to figure out what it meant," he said. "We got a map out and it was the number of the interstates between Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville." At times, Holladay even held down jobs, Hedgspeth said. "No one who suffered from mental retardation could plan out and do the things he did," Hedgspeth said. When Holladay was questioned about a rape someone said he did several years earlier, he admitted it and described the place the woman lived, what she was wearing and provided many details. Hedgspeth said Holladay came from a good family. "He was a typical boy, but he just started getting in trouble," he said. "He has brought just as much heartache to his own family as he has the victims' families," Hedgspeth said. "It's just a different kind of hurt." Hedgspeth used a quote Holladay's father made to a reporter in his closing statements at trial. "Somewhere along the way, Glenn went bad," Hedgspeth said. "This didn't have to happen. It just shows what happens when somebody goes bad."

High court delays Holladay execution Lawyer says client retarded, should be spared

Birmingham News

Stan Bailey


Assistant Attorney General Beth Jackson Hughes contended in court documents that Holladay's latest appeals were filed too late and are without merit because he "functions in the borderline range of intelligence and is not mentally retarded." After Holladay was examined at Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa in 1986, Dr. Joe Dixon, a psychologist and certified forensic examiner, testified he was "not a rocket scientist but that he had common sense, street smarts, could understand things and could figure out how to fix things." Dixon said Holladay could "adapt to the rules of society and to get along should he choose to," so he disagrees that Holladay is mentally retarded.
















Senator Barry
.      (804) 698-7537       General Assembly Building
910 Capitol Street, Room 301, Richmond, Virginia 23219





































































































Beth J. Hughes

Assistant Attorney General Beth Jackson Hughes is unclear on the definition of Mental Retardation. If the state uses an IQ range to determine mental retardation (usually its at or below 70), it doesn't matter what his adaptive skills are or anything else. IQ=MR or not MR

Photo of Governor Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed a bill banning the execution of mentally retarded persons.  







Missouri Governor Bob Holden signed a bill banning the execution of mentally retarded persons.  Unfortunately, the bill is not retroactive, so all those currently on death row are still eligible for execution.







Missouri Governor Bob Holden signed a bill banning the execution of mentally retarded persons.  Unfortunately, the bill is not retroactive, so all those currently on death row are still eligible for execution