Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kansas: Call for Pardon!

The Kansas City Star is featuring an interesting editorial by Robert Beaird, a former associate judge of the Circuit Court of Jackson County. Beaird argues Patty Prewitt, "convicted of murdering her husband" almost 30 years ago "should be granted clemency." He says:
Investigators were all too quick to judge Patty as their prime suspect, and they failed to collect and in some cases simply ignored key evidence, preventing us from fully presenting Patty’s account of a home intruder that attacked her and killed her husband. The prosecution paraded former paramours on the stand, all of whom had relations with her that ended more than five years before the crime, during a period when her husband had withdrawn his affections. This inflammatory testimony and the lead investigator’s dubious claim that Patty tried to seduce him during his investigation unduly influenced the jury’s perception of her and resulted in the guilty verdict she received. 
The piece then claims that, today, "no criminal court would tolerate an inflammatory Scarlet Letter prosecution of infidelity."

Deaird notes Prewitt, who has steadily maintained her innocence, has been "a model prisoner" for 27 years. "Hundreds" of persons "including religious leaders and both Republican and Democratic politicians have contacted the governor’s office in support of her release"  and she has "several" standing job offers. Deaird writes, "No one doubts that she will be a productive citizen outside of prison." But, when all is said and done, Prewitt is not eligible for parole till 2036 (when she will be 86 years old). With some irony, she declined a plea bargain that "would have made her eligible for parole after just seven years."

The editorial concludes:
Gov. Nixon would be doing what is fair and just if he grants Patty clemency this holiday season. As Patty’s defense lawyer, and as a former prosecutor and retired judge, I urge him to embrace his constitutional leadership mantle and grant Patty clemency during this season when we are all thankful of God’s grace.  
See full editorial here.

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