Friday, 21 September 2007

The statement: DA's association on King - President of District Attorneys' group blasts King's inexperience. - Governor rejects call to delay planned execution to allow DNA testing.

The statement: DA's association on King

Posted by rsims September 17, 2007 11:20 AM

Here is the text of a press release issued this morning from the Alabama District Attorneys Association:

There will be a press conference held by the Alabama District Attorneys Association at 3.30 p.m. at the Alabama State House regarding this situation. There will be in excess of 30 elected District Attorneys from all across the state, Republican and Democrat, in attendance.



September 17, 2007

District Attorney Robby Owens and Attorney General Troy King once publicly agreed on the very issue that brings us to this point. But because of his inexperience in the criminal justice system, the Attorney General of the State of Alabama has taken the unusual and, in this case, unnecessary, vindictive and hypocritical step of publicly chastising one of our most experienced district attorneys for doing what a district attorney is ethically charged with doing--seeking justice. The role of a district attorney--to serve as a minister of justice--is clear, and by attacking the role of this particular district attorney in performing this role, he has attacked us all.

In a capital murder case in Shelby County, Alabama, District Attorney Robby Owens prosecuted and achieved convictions and sentences of death. When the United States Supreme Court saw fit to preclude all persons from receiving the death penalty if they were juveniles at the time of the criminal act, Robby Owens testified he felt it was unfair to execute the accomplice, eighteen at the time, when the actual cold-blooded executioner, sixteen at the time, was no longer eligible for the death penalty. Attorney General King agreed in argument to the United States Supreme Court that such a conclusion would indeed produce a "bizarre result."

The Attorney General, after initially expressing his agreement with Robby Owens' position, has now launched a public media attack to paint a false and negative picture of District Attorney Robby Owens' actions. He has called these actions "incredible and outrageous", stated that Owens has "shirked" his responsibilities, and has gone so far as to conclude Owens has "acted on the side of the criminal."

The Alabama District Attorneys Association calls on Attorney General King to apologize to his colleague, District Attorney Robby Owens. Given, the Attorney General has never been faced with the awesome responsibility of deciding whether to seek the death penalty, but, at the very least he should respect the ethical responsibility of the District Attorney in upholding the task mandated for him by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, and the National Prosecution Standards of the National District Attorneys Association--to act as a minister of justice and to do all that is possible to see that justice is done.

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