This week we got the welcome news that the state of Alabama will not appeal a ruling ordering a new trial for ACLU client Montez Spradley, who was sentenced to death despite inadequate and very weak evidence, after his trial judge rejected the jury’s 10-2 vote for a life sentence .
As we’ve written before, Spradley, a young African-American man, has always vigorously maintained his innocence in the 2004 murder of a 58-year-old white grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama. The prosecution's case against Spradley was alarmingly thin and riddled with inconsistencies, and in ordering a new trial the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found that much of it was "improperly admitted."
The appeals courts’ decision to order a new trial was uplifting, especially in light of the recent execution of Troy Davis amid grave doubts about his guilt. With a new trial for Spradley, we may finally achieve real justice.