King, DAs spar
By David Clemons, Sand Mountain Reporter
Alabama's top prosecutors have been at odds this week.
Thirty district attorneys gathered in Montgomery to protest Attorney General
Troy King's decision to take over a case from the Shelby County district
King earlier this month removed District Attorney Robby Owens from a death
row case in Shelby County.
Owens won a conviction and death sentence against LaSamuel Gamble and Marcus
Presley for the 1996 murder of two people during a pawnshop robbery.
However, Presley's death sentence was vacated when the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled people could not be executed for crimes committed when they were
younger than 18.
Afterwards, Owens argued it would be wrong to execute Gamble if Presley, who
shot the victims, could not be executed. A Shelby County judge moved Gamble
off death row.
On Sept. 12, in announcing that he was taking over the case, King said it
was "incredible and outrageous" for Owens to testify that Gamble should not
Thirty of Alabama's district attorneys gathered in Montgomery this week to
demand an apology from King. He refused and, in a statement Thursday, said
defense lawyers who have made "excuses" for criminals have "been joined by
those who claim to be ministers of justice."
King's office customized news releases for the counties represented by
district attorneys on Owens' side, including Marshall County District
Attorney Steve Marshall.
"Steve Marshall and other DAs stood together Monday to support each other -
to complain that one of their own had been attacked," King said. "I take my
stand with the law and with the victims of crime. Together, we say that
there is still right and there is still wrong.
"And we make no apology for it."
Marshall said his criticism of King comes from his disappointment over the
attorney general's "personal, unprofessional and vindictive attack" on
"We should expect more of our attorney general than to engage in political
grandstanding and name-calling,
Troy King has demonstrated immaturity and a lack of professionalism in his
"This fact is not surprising, however, from an attorney general whose tenure
has been marred by ethical lapses and shortcomings.
Steve Marshall gave this statement:
"Troy King continues to misunderstand me and 41 other district attorney's
disagreement with him. My opposition is not as to his decision to continue
to seek the death penalty in the Shelby County murder case. If I were
responsible for the case, I would strongly consider taking a similar
position. My criticism, as well as my colleagues, is related directly to the
personal, unprofessional and vindictive attack he has launched against a
well-respected district attorney.
"We should expect more of our Attorney General than to engage in political
grand-standing and name calling. Instead, Troy King has demonstrated
immaturity and a lack of professionalism in his comments. This fact is not
surprising, however, from an attorney general whose tenure has been marred
by ethical lapses and shortcomings.
"I made a commitment to the people of Marshall County that I would perform
my job in a professional and ethical manner without succumbing to political
pressure. I have maintained that promise, a statement Troy King cannot
Source : Sand Mountain Reporter