Monday, May 7, 2012

Arizona: Brewer Stacks the Clemency Board

The Arizona Republic reports Gov. Jan Brewer is "under fire" for "the way she replaced three of the five members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency last month." Brewer, of course, is notable for ignoring the careful decision making of the Board, even when innocent persons are in prison. And, it is reported that the ousted members say they were dismissed for "recommending clemency when Brewer thought they shouldn’t have." Today, a claim will be made that the Board may not be legally constituted because "the new appointees have been considering cases without the training required by state statute." Says the Republic:
Brewer’s decision to replace a majority of the board in one fell swoop raises other issues. By statute, board members’ terms are staggered so that their terms expire one at a time. But earlier this year, Brewer decided to simultaneously replace [Duane Belcher, Marilyn Wilkens and Ellen Stenson]. All three attribute their departures to the governor’s displeasure with their votes to grant clemency in certain cases. 
Despite Belcher’s interest in continuing as chairman and support for him from inmate advocates, prosecutors and victims’ groups, Brewer’s nominating committee declined to interview him. Belcher agreed to stay on through May 11 to train the new board members. Belcher said Brewer’s general counsel, Joe Sciarrotta, and deputy chief of staff, Scott Smith, made it clear a few months ago that the governor was unhappy with his vote to grant convicted murderer William Macumber clemency in 2009. He voted again for clemency for Macumber earlier this year. Wilkens said that during her re-appointment interview, “it was expressed clearly that there was dissatisfaction with my vote on a particular issue, and that I had not voted the way they wished that I would have voted.” Unlike Belcher and Stenson, Wilkens didn’t support Macumber’s application; she wouldn’t say which clemency grant was at issue in her case.
But a person familiar with the board said that the governor was upset about the board’s unanimous Jan. 26 decision to recommend a reduction to five years in prison and lifetime supervision for Robert Flibotte, 74, a Payson real-estate agent sentenced to 90 years for possession of child pornography. Flibotte has many supporters in Payson who are pushing for clemency. Belcher said he was shocked the governor replaced so many board members at once. “It’s clear to me now that they are trying in any way they can to manipulate the outcome of clemency hearings,” he said. “If the cases don’t go before the governor, she doesn’t have to say yes or no.” Brewer declined to say why she replaced the three board members.
Yep. That's the Brewer we know. Loud-mouthed and in the face of every television camera for miles if she has chance to beat up on immigrants. Struck with lock jaw when it comes to justice and mercy. Yes, only a nameless, faceless, spokesperson can mutter (on her behalf), "it was time to bring new individuals and a fresh perspective to the board.” See story here.

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