LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Victims of Crime and Leniency

You may feel like no one else knows what you are going through.

We know the path you are traveling is hard.

No one has to fight this battle alone.

We are here to help you.

 

 

CALL TO ACTION!

The Alabama Legislature convenes on February 5, 2024. It is imperative that we come together to have our voices heard on crime victim related pre-filed bills.

There is a well-funded and organized movement to focus on the rights and conditions of convicted felons. The effect on the victim is not part of this conversation. We must step up and let our legislators know what crime does to us and our community.

Maintaining all of the progress that has been achieved for over four decades ins a constant effort. Please join us! We will be sending out weekly updates, holding Zoom calls to share information about how you can effectively get your voice across to those who will vote on the passage of these bills.

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Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away. We will respond as quickly as possible.

The 1st Annual Voices For Victims 5K will be held on June 22, 2024. The event will be held in Montgomery where the grassroots movement for crime victims' rights began in Alabama. Participants will start the race on Washington Avenue In front of the Alabama State Capital and follow Dexter Avenue to the River Walk and historic Montgomery ending at the Avenue of Flags.

There will be something for everyone! You can participate in the Live Chip Timed 5K and if you can't make it to Montgomery you and your friends or family can participate in the Virtual 5K. Organize teams or start a fundraiser! Bring the kids and the dog to participate in the Fun Run/Walk immediatley after the 5K.

Don't wait! Sign up today and get ready to run! Or just have fun!

https://runsignup.com/Race/AL/Montgomery/VoicesForVictims5K

A fund-raising event to benefit the continued crime victim advocacy of VOCAL - Victims of Crime and Leniency.

 

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Special Projects

Victim Support Services

Cookbook Order 2

VOCAL's "Angels in the Kitchen" Cookbook is ready to order! Please follow the link below to place your order:

Recent Changes in Crime Victim Related Law

Amendment 1: Denying bail to defendants charged with violent crimes

Known as Aniah’s Law, Amendment 1 would allow judges to deny bail to individuals charged with any of the following 13 first-degree violent crimes: capital murder, murder, kidnapping, rape, sexual torture, sodomy, domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, robbery, arson, terrorism and aggravated child abuse.

The amendment actually expands upon a constitutional provision that allows judges to deny bail for defendants charged with capital offenses, such as murder. The amendment would make clear that all of the violent crimes listed would fall under that jurisdiction.

The law is named after Homewood-native Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old student at Southern Union State Community College who was abducted in Auburn in late 2019 and later killed. The man accused of her murder was out on bail awaiting his trial for a previous kidnapping case.

Revocation of bail would not be automatic. Before a decision could made, the judge would have to hold a hearing, allowing both prosecutors and defense attorneys to present evidence in the case.

What Sets Us Apart

At VOCAL, we have been helping victims and their rights for more than four decades. We’re an advocacy group for victims’ rights.

On the 45th anniversary of her daughter's death, Miriam Shehane shares the story of Quenette, and the effect her life had on crime victims in Alabama. VOCAL, Victims of Crime and Leniency  was born from the tragedy that the Shehane family endured and their willingness to allow Quenette's legacy to help those who came after them.

Homicide Support Group
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If you are a victim of crime or a surviving family member that has received notice of a parole hearing or if you need information regarding the parole or pardon process, you can contact VOCAL at 334-262-7197 or email to [email protected]

Advocates are available to assist you and lodging is available for overnight prior to a hearing at no cost to crime victims.

Amendment 3: Notification of commutation

Amendment 3 would require the governor to provide notice to the attorney general and the victim’s family prior to granting a reprieve or commutation to a person sentenced to death. It also voids the reprieve or commutation if the governor does not provide notice.

The current constitution gives the governor of Alabama the power to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment or issue a reprieve from an execution. The amendment would not otherwise limit or restrict the governor’s ability to grant reprieves or commutations.

The amendment would place restrictions on a power that Alabama governors rarely use. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Fob James is the only Alabama governor to have commuted a death sentence since the state resumed carrying out executions in 1983.

Almost 17 years after Lisa Ann Millican, 13, was raped and murdered, her family was told to prepare: The state soon would set an execution date for the woman a DeKalb County jury had convicted of brutally killing Lisa.

Instead, the family got a "complete sucker punch" from then-Gov. Fob James, Cassie Millican said. A few days before leaving office in 1999, James commuted Judith Ann Neelley's death sentence to life in prison. Alabama laws at the time meant not only would Neelley escape execution, but she would also be eligible for parole.

Paul DeMarco: Work release for convicted killer raises more questions about Alabama Department of Corrections

By VOCAL | December 14, 2023

Courtesy of the Trussville Tribune 12/12/2023 By Paul DeMarco Our Nation has a violent crime problem that continues to spike. Some states have made it even worse with their efforts to defund the police and weaken their criminal justice system. In addition, soft-on-crime prosecutors and judges in some jurisdictions have created a revolving door allowing…

Attorney General Steve Marshall Statement on the Execution of Murderer Casey McWhorter

By VOCAL | November 16, 2023

(Montgomery)—Attorney General Steve Marshall issued the following statement tonight after the execution of Casey Allen McWhorter at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama: Attorney General Marshall informed the Alabama Department of Corrections shortly after 3:00 p.m. that there were no remaining legal challenges to the execution of the sentence. Casey McWhorter’s officially…

Attorney General Marshall: Federal Court of Appeals Denies Relief in 2005 Capital Murder Case of Radio Shack Employee

By VOCAL | November 9, 2023

(Montgomery) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall welcomed a decision from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated an earlier opinion of the court and affirmed a district court’s decision to deny a habeas petition related to the capital murder conviction of Brandon Washington of Birmingham. Washington was convicted of capital murder for the…

Together We Can!

VOCAL can provide:

  • Safety & Refuge for Victims in Alabama

Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 1982. We are an advocacy group for victims’ rights consisting of concerned citizens, victims of crime and their families, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and others interested in reducing crime and improving the plight of its victims.

  • Public Education & Awareness

VOCAL Angel House advocates for victims’ rights and services for victims of violent crime, providing direct services to victims and their families and public education and awareness.

  • Victim Advocates
    Our advocates work closely with the staff in all phases of the Criminal Justice System, assisting with tasks such as:
  • Death Notification
  • Media Coverage
  • Funeral Arrangements
  • Victim's Compensation
  • Trial Attendance
  • Insurance Claims
  • Crime Scene Clean-up

 

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