It has recently come to our attention at Skier & Associates that Alabama’s Pardon and Parole Boards currently have no plans to reinstate live hearings anytime in the near- to mid- term future.
This is disappointing to us and, we are sure, to our many clients who have been waiting years for their day before the Board. We have had success with our newly adopted strategy of recording live statements from our clients and from Andrew Skier, and submitting those statements electronically along with supporting materials on behalf of our clients. Despite this, we do feel that there is no substitute for a live presentation and obviously the current process leaves no ability for the Board members to ask questions of applicants or engage in any kind of back-and forth encounter that sometimes affect the decisions they make. Also, in our experience the results of the hearings are not posted to the Pardons and Paroles website until late in the day or the next morning, leaving our clients, who are desperate to know the outcome of their case, with even longer before they are able to get closure.
We have argued in this space before for the reinstatement of live hearings or at the very least video conference hearings such as are being held in nearly every court in which we practice. After all, if the Court system can hold hearings via video conference (and we have been involved in several contentious hearings through video) we see no reason why the Pardon and Parole Board can’t give applicants (and for that matter, those opposing pardon or parole) a chance to be heard.
We restate our call for the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles to institute a system of live hearings OR video conference hearings for applicants who request it. We hope this plea will be heard by someone in a decision-making position at the Board.