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This is America: 9 out of 10 public schools now hold mass shooting drills for students

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How "active shooter" drills became normal for a generation of American schoolchildren.
"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.
His friendly tone then turns serious.
“What I don’t want you to do is hide in the corner if a bad guy comes in the room,” he says. "You gotta get moving."
This training session — shared online by the ALICE Training Institute, a civilian safety training company — reflects the new normal at American public schools. As armed shooters continue their deadly rampages, and while Washington remains stuck on gun control, a new generation of American students have learned to lock and barricade their classroom doors the same way they learn to drop and roll in case of a fire.
The training session is a stark reminder of how American schools have changed since the 1999 Columbine school shooting. School administrators and state lawmakers have realized that a mass shoot…

33 on Alabama's death row would no longer face execution under proposed bill

Alabama's death row
Alabama's death row
An Alabama senator wants to expand the recently enacted law that halted the practice of allowing judges to impose death on convicted capital murder defendants despite a jury's recommendation of life without the possibility of parole.

State Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, introduced a bill that would make the new law retroactive, effectively taking more than 30 inmates off death row who were sentenced to die by a judge's override of a jury recommendation for life without parole.

"The Alabama Legislature has admitted that this unfair and unjust and we're not going to do it anymore in Alabama," Sanders said.

But the legislature should extend that same justice to those already on death row due to judicial overrides, Sanders said.

There are currently 179 men and five women who are on Alabama's death row, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

As of December, according to the federal public defender's office in Montgomery, the number of death row inmates sentenced to die by a judge overriding a verdict was 34. But one of those inmates - Ronald Smith - who had their jury recommendation overridden by a judge and sentenced to death was executed after that number was released.

Alabama had been the last state to allow judicial override - Florida and Delaware stopped last year in the wake of court orders. The Alabama Legislature enacted a law this session that did away with the practice.

But during debate over the bill Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, introduced an amendment that stated the act would not apply retroactively to inmates sentenced prior to enactment of the bill. The amendment was approved.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on her first full day in office on April 11 signed into law the bill that says juries, not judges, have the final say on whether to impose the death penalty in capital murder cases.

Sanders introduced his bill on April 20, less than three weeks after the legislature had approved the bill doing away with judicial override. The bill has not made it out of the senate's judiciary committee.

With less than 10 days left in the legislative session, it doesn't look like Sanders' bill has a chance to make it to a vote this session. Sanders also has bills that he submitted at the start of this year's session in February regarding the death penalty. One seeks to repeal the death penalty and another seeks a three-year moratorium on it. Both those bills also appear dead in the committee.

Sanders, an opponent of the death penalty, has submitted the bills in prior years.

Judicial override was initially designed to prevent runaway juries and an extra level of procedural safeguards to prevent the unjustified imposition of the death penalty, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information.

But instead, in Alabama it has historically been used to impose death sentences against the will of the community and has been disproportionately used in election years in cases of white victims and African American defendants, he said.

Source: al.com, Kent Faulk, May 1, 2017

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