Alabama lawmaker’s ‘Sgt. Nick Risner Act’ could eliminate portion of early release prison policy

In the wake of the deadly shootout with Sheffield Police, an Alabama lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prevent inmates convicted of manslaughter from receiving good-time-served credit in prison.

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 12:32 PM
Updated: Nov 24, 2021 10:29 PM

In the wake of the deadly shootout with Sheffield Police, an Alabama lawmaker has drafted a bill that would prevent inmates convicted of manslaughter from receiving good-time-served credit in prison.

State Rep. Lynn Greer told WAAY 31 he plans on presenting the bill during a Dec. 2 caucus meeting. The bill is named for late Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner called the Sgt. Nick Risner Act. Greer said he expects to find other lawmakers to co-sign on the bill next week.

State legislators meet about a prison reform bill

Brian Lansing Martin in Morgan County Jail

Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner with K-9 Officer Wiske

As our extensive reporting has already highlighted, if this law had already been in place, Brian Lansing Martin would have been in prison Oct. 1 when investigators say he shot Risner, Sheffield Police Lt. Max Dotson and William Clare Mealback Jr.

WAAY 31 obtained court documents detailing Martin’s arrest 10 years ago for the murder of his own father, Donice Scott. Martin took a plea for manslaughter and received a 10-year sentence.

The Alabama Department of Corrections released him in 2016, after just three years, on “good time” served despite allegations Martin had other incidents while behind bars.

WAAY 31 has filed open records requests demanding to review Martin’s behavior files from behind bars, but those documents have not been turned over to the station yet.

Greer said he will likely pre-file the bill next month. The Legislature goes into regular session Jan. 11.

Martin faces three counts of capital murder in Risner's death and one capital murder charge for Mealback’s killing. Prosecutors have said they plan on seeking the death penalty in the case.

The current Code of Alabama law includes several exceptions for which an inmate cannot receive good-time release:

• Anyone convicted of a Class A felony;

• Anyone sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty;

• Anyone who receives a sentence of more than 15 years; and

• Anyone convicted of a sex crime involving a child, or of an assault that causes permanent damage.

Greer's bill, if passed, would add the Class B felony of manslaughter to this list.

When Martin received his good-time credit, his sentence was considered complete by the ADOC and thus was not required to be placed in parole or any type of post-prison supervision.

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