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Governor Ivey Appoints New Chair To Pardons and Parole Board

Written by on September 25, 2019
Leigh Gwathney
Leigh Gwathney

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday announced that she is appointing Leigh Gwathney to serve as chair of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. The governor signed Gwathney’s appointment letter this afternoon.

During the 2019 Regular Session, Governor Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall championed legislation aimed at reforming the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The legislation, HB 380, was sponsored by Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) and with this new law, the governor has the authority to appoint the director. Additionally, based off recommendations by the lieutenant governor, attorney general, senate pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House, the governor has the ability to appoint the chairman of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“There is no doubt Leigh Gwathney will serve the state well as chair of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Pardons and Paroles were in need of strong leadership, and I am confident with Judge Graddick and Ms. Gwathney at the helm, the system will better serve victims and their families, and ultimately, improve public safety across the state,” Governor Ivey said. “She is a proven prosecutor with expertise and passion for the justice system, and I am proud to call on this impressive leader to serve in this capacity.”

Gwathney comes to the post with a strong background in prosecution and an impressive record of public service. Currently serving as assistant attorney general in the Alabama Office of the Attorney General, Gwathney is the senior prosecutor responsible for prosecuting violent crimes throughout the state. Additionally, she is the senior cold case prosecutor overseeing homicides and sexual assault cases across the state and is responsible for reviewing legislation and amendments to the Code of Alabama.

“I applaud Governor Ivey’s selection of Assistant Attorney General Leigh Gwathney to lead the Board of Pardons and Paroles,” said Attorney General Marshall.  “I am confident that Ms. Gwathney will restore integrity and diligence to the Board as it returns to its core mission of thoroughly vetting Alabama prison inmates’ petitions for parole.”

Prior to her work in the Attorney General’s Office, Gwathney served as deputy district attorney for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. She also worked as a Court Advocate for the YMCA of Central Alabama.

Gwathney earned her bachelor’s degrees from Auburn University. She later earned her law degree from The University of Alabama.

Gwathney’s appointment goes into effect on October 16, 2019.

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