UAH involved in Bishop trial hearing set for Feb. 1st
Claudia Mesnil-Baez, Staff Writer
January 31, 2013
Filed under News
The trial involving Amy Bishop began became a guilty plea in September 2012, but she decided to change her mind and the case is in its evidence discovery phase. Plaintiffs claim UAH has proposed extravagant costs to retrieve necessary information. A hearing has been set for Feb. 1st to solve this issue.
Amy Bishop entered a guilty plea in September 2012 for killing three fellow faculty members: Dr. Maria Ragland Davis, Dr. Adriel Johnson, and UAH Biology Department Chairman Gopi Podila in a Biology Department meeting in 2010. She had agreed to waive her appeal rights and serve a life sentence without parole, but later changed her mind, appealing the case.
The plaintiffs are Dr. Maria Ragland Davis’s and Dr. Adriel Johnson’s families. The defendants are Amy Bishop, her husband, and UAH Provost Dr. Vistasp Kharbari. The plaintiffs argue that UAH did not follow the required procedure for distraught staff members with Amy Bishop, and are asking UAH for email and phone records as part of evidence.
According to a news report on AL.com, The plaintiffs were billed $2,000 for 8,000 pages of Kharbari’s email records. UAH argues that the plaintiffs have not helped them during their efforts to proceed with the discovery phase and resolve the issues. The University has also stated that the dollar amounts for payments asked for are all allowable under Alabama Law. Regarding the costs proposed by UAH, Douglas Fierberg, a Washington D.C lawyer who is representing the victims’ families, said: “They’re outrageous, that’s why we filed the motion to compel.”
UAH had stated that the motion to compel by the plaintiffs “was due to be denied because of lack of evidence.” According to Huntsville Police Records, The motion to compel was responded by Madison County Judge Ruth Ann Hall, who set a hearing for February 1st in order to resolve the issue of the apparent excessive fees.
There have been more issues with the suit and the communications between UAH and the plaintiff’s lawyer representatives. In many states, as it is in Alabama, the plaintiffs and the defendant have the right to ask to reschedule the court hearings due to lack of evidence.
Bishop is currently serving life sentence in prison without parole in Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka, Elmore County, AL.