Decision Maker

Kay Ivey

  • AL
  • Governor

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Petitioning United States Supreme Court, Montgomery Superior Court, Alabama Governor, Alabama Superior Court, Alabama State Senate, The Pardons and Parole Board of Alabama, C​.​J. Robinson, Kay Ivey

Free LaKeith Smith!

At the age of 15, LaKeith Smith was taken into custody for the murder of his friend A'donte Washington who was killed by the police; an undisputed fact. After being sentenced to 65 years in maximum security, a team of advocates came together to save LaKeith's life from a sentence to die in prison. In 2015, LaKeith Smith and five other young boys broke into two residential homes during the day. At the age of 15, LaKeith was the youngest of the group. In response, the police were called to the scene and gunfire erupted. Amidst the conflict and being frightened by the sounds of gunshots, LaKeith ran away and hid. His friend, A’Donte Washington, 16, was tragically shot and killed by the officer during an alleged shoot-out between the two - a shoot-out that was both incorrectly reported and contradicted by ballistic reports.  Despite his lack of involvement, LaKeith was charged and tried for the murder of A’Donte Washington. At 15, Lakieth Smith was NOT offered juvenile detention. Instead, the DA transferred LaKeith to an adult court and offered him a plea deal of “only” 25 years. LaKeith, being a child with a life ahead of him, declined the plea deal and exercised his constitutional right to a trial. Ultimately, when LaKeith was given his day in court, he was found guilty of all counts by an all-white jury. When it came to his sentencing, the judge subjected LaKeith to a 65-year sentence in prison (30 years for murder, 15 years for burglary, and 10 years each for two theft convictions to run consecutively). Only recently has his sentence been reduced to 55 years and none of the reduction came from an acquittal of murder. LaKeith Smith remains confined in Saint Clair, one of America's most dangerous maximum-security prisons. LaKeith was non-violent, he did not endanger anyone, and he certainly did not fire the bullet that murdered his friend. It is likely that if LaKeith had been tried as a juvenile and/or tried appropriately for the burglary, he would be free today. He has served 7 years of his 55 year sentence.  With a 15% approval rate in 2021, Alabama’s judiciary is setting LaKeith up to remain in prison until he is 70 years old. In a study conducted by the CDC, data shows the average life expectancy for a Black man in America is 72.2 years old. LaKeith Smith has essentially received a life sentence for a crime he never committed. It has been almost two years since the JUSTICE4LAKEITHSMITH campaign started. Since then, a team of advocates have been fighting to save LaKeith from dying in prison. We ask for your help. Please share this petition and support the campaign to help us raise awareness about his story and reach decision-makers that can vacate the murder conviction. Thank you.

Amania Galloway
846,173 supporters
Petitioning Kay Ivey

Grant clemency to Robin Myers and change his sentence from death to life without the possibility of parole

Robin "Rocky" Myers is a 53-year-old intellectually disabled black man who was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1993 for a crime he did not commit. With a vote of 9-to-3, an overwhelmingly white jury in Decatur, Ala., recommended that Robin be sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole. The elected judge presiding over the case overrode the jury and ordered his execution instead. The United States Supreme Court recently found this practice of judicial override to be unconstitutional and struck down Florida's capital sentencing scheme, which allowed override.  Alabama is now one of only two states that allows for such judicial override and it stands alone in giving a judge no guidance in exercising this power. In the last 15 years, shockingly, Alabama is the only state to ever use judicial override to sentence someone to death. To quote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, “[I]t approaches the most literal sense of the word ‘arbitrary’ to put one to death in the face of a contrary jury determination where it is accepted that the jury had indeed responsibly carried out its task.” In all of Rocky’s post-conviction proceedings, he and his counsel have argued that he should not be executed because he is innocent and intellectually disabled. Additionally, Alabama’s decision to execute Rocky is a direct violation of a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found the execution of an intellectually disabled inmate to be cruel and unusual and, therefore, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And because Rocky’s counsel abandoned him in the midst of his post-conviction proceedings, these claims have never been fully addressed by any court. Rocky has no further appellate process available to him, and is subject to receive an execution date at any time. Your signature to this petition is not a vote for his innocence. It is a vote for justice, and one that will hopefully compel the state of Alabama and Gov. Robert Bentley to grant Rocky clemency from an elected judge’s arbitrary decision and allow him to serve the sentence the jury of his peers intended –– Life Without the Possibility of Parole. To learn more about or to keep up with the status of Rocky's case, please visit

Kacey Keeton
482,280 supporters
Petitioning Doug Ducey, Kim Reynolds, Laura Kelly, Mark Gordon, Gary R. Herbert, Brad Little, Kay Ivey, Ron DeSantis, Phil Murphy, Ohio Governor, J​.​B. Pritzker, Kristi Noem

Justice for Cornelius! Shut Sequel Down

Last week, 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks died after being restrained for throwing a sandwich at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, MI, which is run by the national for-profit company Sequel Youth and Family Services.   Such egregious use of force and tragic loss of life is appalling and is part of a pattern and practice of abuse that spans facilities and warrants immediate shut down. Most notably, Cornelius's case echoes harms at Clarinda Academy in Iowa and Red Rock Canyon School in Utah, which resulted in facility closure. No other kid should suffer, while Sequel profits off of warehousing and restraining youth.   In the United States, profiting off of youth incarceration has become widespread, with almost half of the youth facilities in the country privately operated.  Kids are often shipped across state lines to receive "therapeutic services," yet in reality suffer bullying, restraint, and abuse. We know from nationwide data that youth of color are more likely to be removed from their homes and placed in these types of facilities despite similar rates of offending. We must stop warehousing youth and subjecting youth of color to these harmful conditions. Cornelius's death at a Sequel facility highlights the harms faced by youth at for-profit facilities.  Years of experience with for-profit juvenile and adult facilities shows privatization often leads to a variety of harmful outcomes such as: dangerous conditions, incentives to incarcerate kids longer, and prioritizing profits over public safety. We must prioritize youth over profit.  Cornelius should be with us today.  Help get justice for Cornelius by calling on Governor's to get kids immediately out of the Kalamazoo facility and shut Sequel facilities down.  Sequel can not be trusted to house one more youth.

335,843 supporters
Petitioning Kay Ivey

Free Mr. Willie Simmons, Army Veteran; Serving Life for stealing $9

Help get the attention of Governor Kay Ivey in Alabama! Hopefully she can help this man get released from this extremely harsh prison sentence. Willie Simmons, a 62-year man from Alabama, has been behind bars for the last 38 years for stealing $9. He was convicted of 1st-degree robbery and was sentenced to life without parole in 1982 due to Alabama’s Habitual Offender law. He already had 3 non violent prior convictions. Simmons, an Army veteran who became addicted to drugs while assigned overseas, was 25-years old when the state “said he should die in prison.” Since 2005, he hasn’t had a visitor after his sister passed away. Now at the age of 62, he has been incarcerated in Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Alabama which is considered one of the “most violent prisons in the country.” Despite that, he is studying for his GED, trying to “stay away from the wild bunch.” Simmons is not denying the crime he committed that landed him in prison for life. He admitted he was “high on drugs” when he wrestled a man to the ground and stole his wallet that contained $9, as he said he was “trying to get a quick fix.” Simmons recalled his trial which lasted about 25 minutes. He said his appointed attorney didn’t call on any witness and the prosecutors didn’t offer a plea deal although his prior offenses were non-violent. “They kept saying we’ll do our best to keep you off the streets for good,” he said. Over the years, he has filed for several appeals even without an attorney and those were all denied. He said, “In a place like this, it can feel like you’re standing all alone. I ain’t got nobody on the outside to call and talk to. Sometimes I feel like I’m lost in outer space.” Lawmakers in 2014 have since removed the last avenue of appeal for those serving life without parole under the habitual offender law like Simmons. However, Simmons is hoping his cruel sentence could be reconsidered. “Yes, I’ve been hoping and praying on it,” he said. “I ain’t giving up.” Moreover, Simmons still dreams someday he will be free and live a normal life. “My hope is to get out of here, settle down with a woman and do God’s will,” he said. “I’d like to tell people about how bad drugs are.”

Victoria Johnson
149,695 supporters
Petitioning NAACP, Vivian Figures, DeMarcus Cousins, Frederick D. Richardson, meek mill, Kay Ivey

Grant clemency for Ezlinglm E. non violent sentenced to life on marijuana charges

What’s right is right...The laws are changing everyday but only for some of us. I just want the world to know that good people are not perfect they do sometimes fall short but it does not make them bad. There are so many unjust cases that have been closed without a second thought and it saddens me. When sentencing, the person should be examined and not just considering what’s on documentation, because it is not necessarily who they are. How could someone paint a picture without ever seeing the image? Ezlinglm Demetrius Earl 30 years of age; a son, brother, loving father, family man and a well appreciated veteran was sentenced to life in an Alabama state prison on marijuana charges. As, we all know marijuana is now a growing business, that is now legal in numerous of states. It is a growing pain to know that there are people given this unruly sentencing all because of their location. It is almost unbelievable but it is true, this is going on now this sentence was given late 2018. The justice system was supposedly built on fairness but honestly that’s something I can’t agree to because I haven’t seen much of that...there are murderers, rapists and maybe even terrorists that are given lesser sentences. My hopes are to justify the unjust, speak for those that are unable, reveal true images of those wrongfully painted, and my ultimate goal is to help place loved ones back with their families. Instead of in prisons like animals for semi-legal crimes. Clemency is clearly needed here. Please look into this case to release Ezlinglm D. Earl.

Wilonda Harries
130,470 supporters
Petitioning Mark R. Herring, Virginia Governor, Detective J. G. Wright, Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey, Steve Marshall, Jennifer Dudley, Judge Julian W. Johnson

Save the Bannister children from sex trafficking

"What does a mother do, when she discovers that the most unimaginable nightmares have occurred, repeatedly, to her little ones at the hands of the men who should have been the most protective in their lives: their father, grandfather, pastor, church members, and neighbors? "What does she do after the local justice system utterly fails them? "She takes her children and runs for their lives." Melody Bannister has been living on the run with her four children for six months as of December 2019. They allege that her husband, William Joseph Bannister, conspired with her father-in-law to perpetuate some of the most horrifying sexual and physical abuse imaginable upon her children. When local law enforcement failed to protect these children, ordering them back to live with their credibly accused abuser, Melody chose to live on the wrong side of the law. What else could a truly desperate mother do?"We left home with barely a week’s worth of summer clothes and are practically penniless, living off the kindness of friends, who one by one have taken us under their wings."The Bannister family escaped from Virginia to Alabama only to have Judge Pamela Wilson Cousins defer to the Virginia ruling. Melody is now appealing their case on both the state and federal levels. As she notes in her public statement, "The mental health and credibility of my children and me have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman. ...Naturally, the abusers did not take kindly to such a development, and are seeking to have the reports stricken from the record. ...Hence our position of living underground." You can find the full story of the trauma Melody and her children have faced here: At this point, Melody Bannister's best hope is that true justice will be found for her family: the legal system must stand up to protect her children, and it must pursue criminal action against those they have credibly accused. Will you join your voice to the throng of people appealing for justice on behalf of the Bannister children?No mother should be forced to protect her babies from the system designed to rescue them. No child should be forced to live with a parent who has come under any legitimate suspicion of child abuse--especially when the alleged abuse is so severe! No family should become so desperate that they leave everything they know and love in order to preserve their most basic physical safety.   ---Please contact the relevant authorities, listed below, to demand safety and justice for the Bannister children. Use the enclosed form letter if you find it helpful. The Virginia Family Court case number is JJ053144-01-99; the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals case number is 2180939. Every voice will raise the cry until authorities can no longer ignore victims and enable perpetrators!   Richmond, Virginia FBI: (804) 261-1044 Stafford, VA Commonwealth Attorney Eric Olsen: (540) 658-8780 Judge Julian W. Johnson: (540) 658-8775; Stafford VA Detective J.G. Wright: (540) 658-5210; Jennifer Dudley, Stafford VA CPS: (540) 658-5107; Alabama Governor Kay Ivey: 334-242-7100 Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall: 334-242-7300   --- To Whom It May Concern, I have become acquainted with the severe, conspiratorial, and protracted physical and sexual abuse alleged by Melody Bannister's four children at the hands of their father, William Joseph Bannister, and their grandfather, Jay Tuhl Bannister, as outlined in the statement made by Ms. Bannister on her blog, Millstones of Justice. This same statement details how the Virginia and Alabama justice systems have utterly failed to protect these children from the threat of sex trafficking. Now Melody has appealed the unjust ruling of Judge Pamela Wilson Cousins to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and, in the meantime, lives in hiding with her children from national law enforcement, who seek to return her children to William Bannister, their alleged trafficker, despite the absence of any thorough investigation of either William Bannister or Jay Tuhl Bannister. Note that, according to Millstones of Justice, "The mental health and credibility of [Melody's] children and [Melody herself] have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman." Sam McLure, Melody's legal representative in Alabama, has publicly confirmed this information in his interview with Dr. Carole Lieberman dated Dec. 17, 2019. Mr. McLure's appeal to the Alabama appellate court documents this information as well. In Melody's words, "Children do have bright and creative imaginations; it is an integral part of the human spirit. But no child is capable of pulling a story out of thin air, which includes them being violently abused physically, sexually, and psychologically, in ways that would cause even the most stout-hearted adult to lose their lunch." This gross miscarriage of justice must end with you. Sex trafficking is a nation-wide scourge, with FBI agents stretched completely beyond their capacity to rescue most of those caught in it, as I expect you are aware. If Americans cannot rely on the justice system to protect our most vulnerable from trafficking before they are completely lost to it, where do we stand? Our faith in the integrity and power of our legal and judicial authorities, such as yourself, will end, as will your tenure in office. Insofar as you are able, you must bring this matter to justice: protect these children on every level and pursue criminal action against those they have credibly accused to prevent more innocents falling prey to unimaginably grotesque schemes. ---   For press inquiries and further information: contact  

Stephanie Eagleson
47,350 supporters
Petitioning Kay Ivey, Doug Jones, Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles

Enough Justice Served For Ebra Hayes

We are writing this in regards of Ebra Hayes, in 1996   She was 19 years old and was charged with “complicity to murder” with a sentence of life without parole. In her initial statement, Ebra says men/boys were in a car trying to run her off the road and throwing “fire bombs” at her car and threatening her and her boyfriend. She then returned back to her parents home with her boyfriend who said he wanted to go to talk to someone about a stereo they wanted to buy. Ebra then took her boyfriend to meet said person and that’s when she heard shots and was told to “go faster”. At the time she did not know her boyfriend had the gun or if he was the one who shot it. She did not stop the car in fear of what would happen to her. The state charging her with “complicity of murder” MUST show criminal intent. She was denied youthful offender when she did not have and prior charges. She was denied a fair trial as African American jurors were struck from the jury without stating a reason to do so, in violation of the Batson decision in the Batson vs Kentucky case. A witness (that was in the car) called in Ebra’s defense testified that he didn’t see nor hear the boyfriend say he had a gun or wanted to kill anyone. The boyfriend also in his case said “I did not try to kill anyone I just wanted to scare them.” The facts in this case does not match up with the charges given. She has been in Tutwiler Women’s Prison for 24 years and has been a model prisoner, not getting any reprimands. We are asking when is enough time served for a crime you did NOT commit or knew was going to happen. She has claimed her innocence the whole 24 years. 

Via Hayes
31,600 supporters
Petitioning Alabama Lawmakers, Kay Ivey

Get Spinal Muscular Atrophy put on the Newborn Screening in Alabama

In Honor of Graham Law Hendrix- our son passed from SMA on 1/16/21. Had SMA been on the newborn screening in our state his life could have been very different.  Our beautiful son was born 10/26/2020 a completely normal healthy baby, by one month of life he had a slight cold and started having mobility issues in his limbs. We spent weeks at the children’s hospital in our state trying to figure out what was wrong with our son, when in reality, if SMA had been on the newborn screening in our state we would have already known. After almost 3 weeks of testing and our son getting sicker, we found out our son had SMA Type 1, by this point he was very sick. Three weeks later he was treated with a $2 million gene therapy drug called Zolgensma, which is a treatment for SMA, not a cure. There is no cure. We hoped for improvement and for a chance to give our son the best life possible, he was the happiest baby. While we did see some movement come back to his limbs a few weeks after his treatment, on January 15th Graham stopped breathing in his car seat when SMA reared it’s ugly head. We did everything to save him but the Lord had already called our baby home. Had we known our child had SMA before he got sick, we could have treated him before he showed symptoms and he could have lived a very different life.  SMA(Spinal Muscular Atrophy) is a progressive, genetic neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord and impacts the muscles used for activities such as breathing, eating, crawling, and walking. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. Currently, Alabama is one of ONLY 14 states left that DOES NOT test for SMA on the newborn screening. Once this disease starts progressing, the damage to the motor neurons is irreversible. There are currently 3 treatments for SMA but NO CURE. Which is why early detection is so important. SMA affects approximately 1 in 11,000 births in the U.S., and about 1 in every 50 Americans is a genetic carrier. SMA can affect any race or gender. There are four primary types of SMA—1, 2, 3, and 4—based on the age that symptoms begin and highest physical milestone achieved. We have an incredible SMA team at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Some states don’t have this. Some families drive to other states for treatment. Alabama has the resources to help families and save these babies lives!!! Help us get our lawmakers and Governor's attention by signing this petition!

Lauren Wenzler
27,247 supporters