BATON ROUGE, LA. (BRPROUD) — On Tuesday, nearly all death row inmates in Louisiana will no longer be eligible for clemency hearings.
A settlement was made between the East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore and the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole.
“The judge ruled in our favor,” said Moore, “that their intervention was moot,” because the parties reached an agreement.
The Parole Board agreed to follow its rules and procedures moving forward, but Moore believes more lawsuits will be filed.
“All the parties now are satisfied, so to speak,” says Moore. “But, I truly expect that the death row inmates through the legal council will continue to file whatever suits that they can file.”
In August, Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a letter asking the Louisiana Board of Pardons to consider clemency for 56 death row inmates. Moore and several attorneys filed an injunction after the governor’s request. The injunction was to stop the hearings from being scheduled and establish eligibility and timeline requirements. District attorneys and victims’ families spoke against the governor’s move to grant the hearings at a news conference.
“We never said we disrespected the governor, we respect his opinion,” said Moore. “He has an opinion that may be different than ours, but he’s the governor he has a right to his own opinion.”
Moore says after speaking with the families who have lost loved ones, they felt what the governor wrote was a blow.
“That was a more difficult phone call, because they were, ‘How can this be happening to us?'” said Moore. “When the governor just said he’s against the death penalty and that the Pardon Board put them out on the docket? That was a gut punch to them.”
Attorney General Jeff Landy asked the courts to pause the clemency hearings, and they did, resulting in a legal battle.
Moore says he met with the Pardon Board last week and finalized a settlement deal. Moore believes this was a win for the families seeking justice but believes the fight isn’t over.
“Continue to give those who have a normal voice, a voice,” said Moore “We’re going to continue to be here, we’re not going to go away.”
The first set of clemency hearings were to start next week. Moore said fewer than 10 of those 56 inmates can file for appeals. Adding those appeals could start within the week.