Alabama law requires that, before the Board of Pardons and Paroles can hear a case, they must notify any identifiable victim of their right to be present at a hearing and make their feelings known on the matter. This has two effects on those awaiting a hearing: First, it can delay the hearing as the process of locating and notifying victims progresses. Second, a victim’s wishes carry significant weight with the Board.
Here are my thoughts and experiences on the matter:
First and most importantly, it is the victim’s right to be present and to protest pardon or parole if they wish. There is nothing that an applicant for parole or pardon can do to prevent someone who wishes to be heard from appearing. This is why I advise my clients not to spend undue time worrying about victim objection, as this issue is out of our hands. We emphasize concentrating on the merits of our case rather than worry what someone else may say or do.
There must be an “identifiable victim” in order for this law to have any bearing on a case. If the case involves drug possession, distribution, or trafficking, there is no identifiable victim and the law does not apply.
Contrary to popular opinion, the mere fact that a victim objects to a parole or pardon does not “close the door” on a the board granting the request. In fact, I have recently witnessed (in my cases and in other cases) the board grant paroles and pardons even when victims have objected in person. It is important to ensure that your presentation tells the board what they need to hear in order to grant relief.
At Skier & Associates we have helped hundreds of people with matters before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, and have a track record of success with that Board. One important aspect of our representation is ensuring that the presentation we make to the Board is as effective as possible, to minimize the effect of an objection.
Contact us today if you are in need of help with a Pardon or Parole matter.