It’s true. Alabama does not provide indigent death row inmates with representation (that link is to a TimesSelect article, so it’s not free. You could just sign up for a trial membership). It is the only state in the country to (not) do so. In Alabama, there is no statutory right to counsel in petitions for writ of habeas corpus, which, as everyone knows, are the last avenue for a death row inmate seeking to challenge his/her conviction.
Alabama’s attitude? To disregard the landmark provisions of Gideon v. Wainwright and basically shrug. I cannot believe that in 2007, there is still a state that doesn’t think it needs to provide representation to indigent defendants.
Inmates filed a class action lawsuit, which was rejected by the 11th circuit in 2006 [Barbour v. Haley (.pdf)]. Now they are seeking cert. to SCOTUS. Hopefully SCOTUS accepts cert and stomps down hard on this bizarre practice.
Thankfully, in CT, there is a statutory right to counsel for habeas petitioners and death row inmates.