Alabama commission recommends life without parole

Scales of justice and jail

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A commission studying ways to revise the Alabama constitution has recommended inserting language to automatically sentence a defendant to life without parole if the governor commutes their death sentence.

The commission’s vice chairman, Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood, recommended the language at a commission meeting Monday.

He says he wants to remove any doubt of what happens when a governor commutes a death sentence.

The question arose in 1999 when Gov. Fob James commuted the sentence of convicted murderer Judith Ann Neelley to life in prison without saying if she would be eligible for parole on one of his last days in office.

Neelley is serving her sentence at Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka.

Prison records indicate that she is eligible for parole.

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