Here at Skier & Associates we have noticed a larger than usual number of potential clients calling our offices for advice and help AFTER they have already had a hearing on a Pardon or Parole request that did not go their way. We cannot emphasize enough that waiting until after the Board has already considered your case is not the best time to reach out to us. Clearly the best time to contact a lawyer for help is prior to a hearing, preferably several weeks or months out.
There are many reasons for this, but the two most important will be discussed here: First, the Board’s extremely limited ability to reconsider their actions, and second the importance of giving the Board all necessary information BEFORE their initial decision.
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.
Although the disruptions to our legal system because of the COVID pandemic continue, there is progress being made in re-opening the judicial system safely. In the past week, I have become aware that in many counties in Alabama, there will soon be jury trials with steps taken to ensure proper social distancing both during jury selection as well as the trial itself. In the Federal Court for the Middle District of Alabama, a jury trial was held this week, which will likely serve as a “test run” for future jury terms. We have taken part in a live evidentiary hearing in Federal Court before a Magistrate judge, and everything went smoothly as expected, although precautions such as plexiglass partitions and face covering requirements were in place.
At Skier & Associates, we have submitted the materials to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles for two clients with hearings scheduled the week of August 17. Because the Board is not holding live hearings, these clients were required to submit their argument in advance of the hearing date. I have been critical of this decision in the past. We now understand that the Pardon and Parole Board hopes to begin live hearings once again in October of this year. We hope this plan comes to pass, as not only do applicants deserve to be heard, but on a personal level we miss presenting our clients’ cases in a live setting. Continue reading ›
During its 2019 Regular Session, HB 380, which restructures and places severe limitations on the powers of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles passed both legislative houses and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature, which is likely. While specifics are to be hammered out during the administrative rules process, the net result will be more restrictions on early parole considerations for most inmates. Importantly, the legislation sets rules for when a parole hearing can be held, based on specific guidelines. As is the case with nearly all legislation, there is good news and bad news. Continue reading ›
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:
I am often asked by clients seeking Parole in Alabama what the entry on their Department of Corrections time sheet labeled “Parole Consideration Date” means. The answer isn’t as simple as it may appear. Continue reading ›
In the past few days, I have received a number of inquiries from people who have been or had a loved one denied parole or a pardon from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. These potential clients want to know how to appeal a ruling of the Pardon and Parole Board. In every case, I have to give them the bad news: There is NO APPEAL from a decision of the Board. Continue reading ›
Many people come to this page looking for information about Alabama’s Pardon and Parole Board. From time to time we like to update the Board’s situation and what it means for those appearing before the board on a Parole Hearing, or petitioning the Board for a Pardon.
Read on to hear about some dramatic changes to the Board’s structure, and a report on the current state of hearing delay.
After a long wait, the hearing date is finally here! What should you expect as you prepare for and appear at the parole or pardon hearing?
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has very strict rules for how they conduct a hearing, and it is important to be familiar with these rules.
The Board opens their doors at 7:30 AM every day that hearings are held. Those appearing on behalf of an applicant for either parole or a pardon fill out a form and are directed to one waiting room, while those representing victims or others protesting a parole or pardon are directed to another.