Ala. gov. signs 'Nick Risner Act' in honor of slain police sergeant
The bill prohibits anyone convicted of a crime that involved killing another person with a deadly weapon from shortening their prison sentence
By Mike Cason
SHEFFIELD, Ala. — Gov. Kay Ivey today signed into law a bill named in honor of Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner, who was shot to death in October. The man accused of the murder of Risner and of a second man had served only three years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter.
The Nick Risner Act will prohibit anyone convicted of a crime that involved killing another person with a deadly weapon from shortening their prison sentence under Alabama correctional incentive time, or “good time” law.
Brian Lansing Martin, who is charged in Risner’s death, would not have been eligible for good time if the law had been in place. Martin is also charged in the shooting death of William Mealback Jr., and is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Sheffield Police Sgt. Max Dotson, who survived.
“Standing up for our men and women in blue is a top priority for my administration,” Ivey said in a press release. “Sergeant Risner’s killer should have never been released from prison in the first place, and while there is nothing that can be done to reverse this horrific tragedy, this legislation will go a long way in ensuring violent offenders remain off the streets.”
Relatives of Risner came to the State House while the bill was moving through the Legislature and were with the governor today for the bill signing.
Rep. Phillip Pettus, a Republican from Killen and a retired state trooper, sponsored the bill.
Martin had been released from prison in 2016 after serving a little more than three years of a 10-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his father in 2011.
The Legislature approved the correctional incentive time law in 1980. The law says eligible inmates “whose record of conduct shows that he or she has faithfully observed the rules for a period of time ... may be entitled to earn a deduction from the term of his or her sentence.”
Pettus’ bill adds to the categories of inmates who were already excluded from receiving good time. Those convicted of Class A felonies or who have sentences longer than 15 years are not eligible. Those convicted of a sex offense involving a child are ineligible.
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