The State of Alabama executed Jeff Land today despite compelling evidence of his transformation into remorseful man who became a peacemaker and, according to prison guards, saved lives by helping to prevent violence and conflicts on death row.
Mr. Land’s request that the governor commute his death sentence to a sentence of life imprisonment without parole was supported by a Department of Corrections sergeant and three correctional officers who had worked with him during the nearly 17 years Mr. Land spent on Alabama’s death row.
These correctional officers testified by affidavit that, in addition to never getting a single disciplinary infraction and serving as a trustworthy prison hallrunner, Mr. Land “saved lives” by providing information to correctional staff about potential conflicts or violent situations. “As a result of information provided by Mr. Land over these many years,” the DOC Sergeant stated, “countless assaults, injuries, and even possible deaths were avoided.”
Mr. Land designed and implemented an efficient system for managing the laundry for hundreds of death row and segregation prisoners, and played a critical role in distributing meals to prisoners. He was entrusted to do jobs that others would refuse or manipulate to their advantage.
Although corrections professionals with decades of experience dealing with prisoners, including death row inmates, expressed confidence that Jeff Land became a changed man and had successfully rehabilitated, the governor yesterday denied clemency.
Mr. Land asked the Alabama Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court to stay his execution, but both courts declined to do so.
The Alabama Supreme Court has scheduled the execution of Holly Wood for September 9, 2010.