Section 14-15-10Actions concerning prison conditions; prisoner release orders.
(a) In any civil action with respect to prison conditions, no prisoner release order shall be entered unless both of the following are satisfied:
(1) A court has previously entered an order for less intrusive relief that has failed to remedy the deprivation of the right sought to be remedied through the prisoner release order.
(2) The defendant has had a reasonable amount of time to comply with the previous court orders.
(b) In any civil action in state court with respect to prison conditions, a prisoner release order shall be entered by a three-judge court, if the requirements of subsection (f) have been met.
(c) In any action required to be heard and determined by a court of three judges, the composition and procedure of the court shall be as follows:
(1) Upon the filing of a request for three judges, the judge to whom the request is presented shall immediately notify the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who shall designate an active or retired district or circuit judge in good standing, and the presiding judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, who shall designate an active or retired district or circuit judge in good standing. The judges so designated, and the judge to whom the request was presented, shall serve as members of the court to hear and determine the action or proceeding.
(2) A single judge may conduct all proceedings except the trial and enter all orders permitted by the Rules of Civil Procedure except as provided in this subsection. The judge may grant a temporary restraining order on a specific finding, based on evidence submitted, that specified irreparable damage will result if the order is not granted. An order, unless previously revoked by the circuit judge, shall remain in force only until the hearing and determination by the circuit court of three judges of an application for a preliminary injunction. A single judge shall not appoint a master, order a reference, hear and determine any application for a preliminary or permanent injunction or motion to vacate the injunction, or enter judgment on the merits. Any action of a single judge may be reviewed by the full court at any time before final judgment.
(d) A party seeking a prisoner release order in state court shall file with any request for such relief a request for a three-judge court and materials sufficient to demonstrate that the requirements of subsection (a) have been met.
(e) If the requirements under subsection (a) have been met, a judge before whom a civil action with respect to prison conditions is pending who believes that a prison release order should be considered may sua sponte request the convening of a three-judge court to determine whether a prisoner release order should be entered.
(f) The three-judge court shall enter a prisoner release order only if the court finds clear and convincing evidence of both of the following:
(1) Crowding is the primary cause of the violation of a right.
(2) No other relief will remedy the violation of the right.
(g) Any state unit of government whose jurisdiction or function includes the appropriation of funds for the construction, operation, or maintenance of program facilities, or the prosecution or custody of persons who may be released from, or not admitted to, a prison as a result of a prisoner release order shall have standing to oppose the imposition or continuation in effect of such relief and to seek termination of such relief, and shall have the right to intervene in any proceeding relating to such relief.
(Act 2013-115, p. 231, §10.)