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Ivey appoints prosecutor as new Parole Board chair

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has named a prosecutor as the new chairwoman of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Ivey on Monday appointed Leigh Gwathney to the position. Gwathney is an assistant attorney general responsible for prosecuting violent crimes and cold cases.

Gwathney replaces Lyn Head, who is resigning. Her appointment begins Oct. 16.

Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall have criticized the agency over the past year for some parole decisions. They backed legislation that gave Ivey greater control over the agency.

The Republican governor appointed a new director who suspended three top administrators and postponed more than 600 hearings.

Ivey says Gwathney is a “proven prosecutor with an expertise and passion for the justice system.”

Gwathney will leave the attorney general’s office to take the new position. In a statement, she committed to ensuring the proper laws and procedures are followed.

“I am greatly honored to be asked by Governor Ivey to serve as chair of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, and I will devote my best efforts to ensuring that Alabama laws are followed and public safety is protected,” Gwathney said. “I am eager to work with my fellow Board members and Director Graddick in restoring public trust in our state pardons and paroles system.”

Marshall applauded the appointment, saying Gwathney “brings to the Board of Pardons and Paroles the perspective of a tough and experienced career prosecutor with a record of holding violent offenders accountable.”

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