Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shock! Arizona's Jan Brewer Nightmare

AZ Central reports five former members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency "say that Gov. Jan Brewer, working through a top staff member, regularly strong-armed them not to grant clemency to state prisoners whose cases came before the board." Three - Duane Belcher, Ellen Stenson and Marilyn Wilkens - even claim that they were fired by Brewer for votes recommending clemency. Belcher had actually served on the Board for 20 years. The other two members (Jesse Hernandez and Melvin Thomas) resigned. Statements from all five are now part of suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Edward Schad, who is scheduled for execution on October 9.

Brewer's purge of the Board was said to have been prompted by the case of William Macumber, a case followed with great interest by the Editor of the blog (see former posts here). The short version is that the State's Board found considerable doubt as to Macumber's guilt and recommended clemency. Gov. Brewer not only disagreed, she refused to issue any public statement regarding the case. After months of media hounding, she grudgingly offered the kind of meaningless, substantively hollow explanation you would expect from a public official contemptuous of the officials she appointed to examine the case with great care and angry at the very thought of having to justify her own decision making. Macumber is now, thankfully, a free man. See full story here.

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