Showing posts with label Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arizona. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brewer Can't Be Bothered with Imprisoned Innocent Man

As readers of this blog are aware, one of the most disturbing / controversial  state clemency matters is floating just beneath the daily news on Arizona's immigration law. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency (a body selected by the governor)recently considered the case of one William Macumber and unanimously recommended clemency. Governor Jan Brewer, however, rejected the Board's recommendation without providing Macumber, or any member of the Board, anything like an explanation. Amazingly enough, the Board's recommendation was NOT on the basis of rehabilitation. The Board believes Macumber is innocent of the crime for which he has been imprisoned for more than 30 years.

Arizona: Brewer Continues to Baffle and Annoy

Joe Dana of KPNX-12 notes Governor Jan Brewer's inexcusable behavior in the case of William Macumber's clemency petition continues to "frustrate many." Katie Puzauskas, an attorney at the Arizona Justice Project (Arizona State University) says she hopes "the governor reconsiders her decision and if there's any information she would like to have in order to make the decision to just ask." Dana also writes:
Attorneys with the Justice Project plan to appeal once again to the clemency board next year for Macumber's release. They are gathering more evidence in hopes of bolstering their case. They say what's most frustrating about the governor's decision is that she did not provide a specific reason for the clemency denial. "A unanimous recommendation from the board is so rare. To have a decision declining the recommendation without giving a reason is very disappointing," Puzauskas said.
See complete KPNX story here. See additional PardonPower commentary on this case at the links provided below:

Jan Brewer's "Personal" Justice: A Real Creature Feature
Arizona: Plea for Clemency
Arizona: Coverage / Commentary Re Jan Brewer's "Justice"
Arizona: Times on the Macumber Outrage
Arizona: Clemency Mystery

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jan Brewer's "Personal" Justice: A Real Creature Feature

Occasionally (some say not enough, others say all too often), an execution takes place in the United States. These episodes are often accompanied by a flurry of last-minute appeals to courts, clemency boards and/or governors. When it is clear that the final call will be made by the governor, one can just about always expect some kind of formal statement, explaining the decision to allow the process to go forward without interruption.

These public statements are the byproduct of external and internal forces. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans favor the death penalty. Governors are certainly aware of this. So, however grim the circumstances, most of them probably feel comfortable issuing what they know will be widely publicized statements which tap into the potentially beneficial stream of majoritarian politics.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arizona: Plea for Clemency

William Lee is 75 years old. In the summer of 2006, he fatally shot an ATV rider and was charged with negligent homicide. He is now being asked to be released from prison even though he is just halfway through his six-year sentence. It is reported that Lee, who is quite ill, has sent a handwritten application to the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency - which has to be an awkward place to work these days. Governor Brewer rarely grants clemency to anyone, regardless of the reasoning, or the vote, of the Board (whose members are selected by the State's governor). Recently, the Board unanimously recommended clemency to a man (William Macumber) it believed is actually innocent and has been wrongfully imprisoned by the state for more than 30 years! Brewer rejected the Board's recommendation without any explanation whatsoever. A local television reporter and a notable writer for the New York Times couldn't get any more respect from Brewer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arizona: Coverage / Commentary Re Jan Brewer's "Justice"

Click on each passage to see the full context of coverage / commentary on the case of Bill Macumber

Macumber seems to be not a double murderer but a multiple victim — a victim of unjustly rigid rules of evidence (surely the confession would have raised a reasonable doubt of his guilt); a clemency process wherein governors have more to lose politically by releasing convicts than they have to gain by showing mercy - Ronald Goldfarb, The Hill

The speculation is that Governor Brewer is putting the interests of getting reelected ahead of the interests of justice. By refusing to release Macumber, she manages to appear tough on crime. For months, Brewer has been wrongfully pilloried for enforcing federal immigration laws in Arizona. It hurts to see the victim of such injustice perpetuate an injustice in her capacity as governor. I hope she will reconsider her decision, and let William Macumber spend his ailing twilight years as a free man. There is still time to do the right thing. I hope Governor Brewer will free William Macumber while there is still time. - Rudy Stettner, IndyPosted

Monday, June 14, 2010

Arizona: Times on the Macumber Outrage

Adam Liptak (pictured on the right) of the New York Times has provided a marvelous service by drawing attention to a case originating in a state where there is so much recent concern about criminal procedure, due process of law and individual rights: Arizona. The State's five member Board of Executive Clemency board believes a 74-year old man sitting in prison, William Macumber, is innocent and has recommended that he be released immediately. But Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer (R) has not only ignored the board's unanimous recommendation, she also refuses to provide an explanation for keeping Macumber behind bars.

Macumber was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1962 murder of a couple in the desert. Most of the "evidence" against him came from his own wife, whom he was in the process of divorcing. The jury heard nothing of the individual who confessed the murders (to a lawyer and future judge, a second lawyer and a psychiatrist) just five years afterward.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arizona: Clemency Mystery

Last August (that is nine months ago), the State's five member Board of Executive Clemency unanimously recommended that 75 year old Bill Macumber be released from prison because there was "substantial doubt" as to his guilt. No, not any of the wishy-washy "rehabilitation" stuff. The man is thought to be innocent!

Macumber was charged with a double homicide in 1974. The murders actually took place in 1962. Governor Jan Brewer (R), on the other hand, denied Macumber's application for clemency without explanation three months after the Board's unanimous recommendation and, it appears, is stonewalling any attempt by anyone to understand why. As it is reported:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Arizona: He's Ba-ack!

Former Gov. Fife Symington says he can do a better job than the current governor and, for that reason, he is considering running for governor once again. The re-run would be interesting, among other reasons, because Symington, a personal friend of Bill Clinton, was one of the recipients of Clinton famous last-minute non-vetted pardon bonanza! In 1997, a federal jury found Symington guilty of defrauding creditors in a real estate venture, but the conviction was overturned because a juror had been improperly dismissed during the trial. Clinton's pardoned ended any possibility of a new trial. See full story here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Arizona: Request

Stan Griffis, a former County Manager Stan Griffis, is serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for stealing more than $400,000 from the County. After having served a little over two years of the sentence, he has now filed an application for a commutation. A prosecutor has sent a "packet" to the clemency board, however, and objects to any such consideration. It is noted that Griffis continues to deny that he violated the law and insists that his actions were approved of by a Board of Supervisors. Griffis' applications counters with "a list of positive accomplishments" (attending classes, teaching classes, helping illiterate inmates, woodworking and reading). He also notes that he has congestive heart failure, diabetes, malaria and nasopharyngeal stenosis. See story here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Arizona: Commutation Revisited


The Arizona Republic features a fascinating piece on Winnie Ruth Judd who, at age 26, was charged with the murder of Agnes Anne LeRoi, 32, and Hedvig "Sammy" Samuelson, 24. Although Judd was married to a 56-year-old physician at the time, it was rumored that she, LeRoi and Samuelson were all vying for the affections of another man. Prosecutors argued the victims were shot while asleep. But their mutilated bodies were discovered in pieces of luggage abandoned outside Central Station in Los Angeles. Judd (aka "The Trunk Murderess" and "The Blond Butcher") was sentenced to hang, but "declared insane" at the last minute and spent almost 40 years in a State hospital. Although she escaped seven times, her death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1952 and she was paroled in 1971, just before Christmas. Conspiracy theorists have focused on extra-marital affairs, high society connections and politics when looking back on the case. See story here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Arizona: Request

Last year, Kimu Parker was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the role she played in the slow starvation of her three children. Now, her husband, Blair, is in court. The couple forced their home-schooled kids on a low-calorie Vegan diet and didn't reverse course even as the kids' bodies began wasting away. They were arrested in April 2005 when one of their daughters began having seizures. The Phoenix New Times reports that only one of Blair's jurors is black and "half are overweight." In the opening statement, his attorney said the Parkers made "serious mistakes" but that they were not "criminals."

Following Kimu Parker's sentencing, Superior Court Judge Thomas O'Toole moved to have the sentence reduced, arguing it was "clearly excessive." A motion was then filed with the state Board of Executive Clemency to recommend a pardon or sentence reduction to Governor Janet Napolitano. O'Toole argues that Kimu has taken parenting classes and has seen the error of her ways. CPS has decided that she was "a good, proper parent who would be able to raise healthy children." See the New Times story here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Arizona: Rejection

On May 1, PardonPower reported on the clemency request of 78-year-old Max Dunlap, who was convicted of the 1976 car-bomb murder of Don Bolles, an Arizona Republic reporter. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency has since denied Dunlap's commutation request despite the fact that he claims to be innocent. Dunlap is not eligible for parole until 2014. His family members said he should be released from prison because of his poor health, but Bolles' daughter said he should remain in prison.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Arizona: Request

The Arizona Republic reports that a state panel will soon consider clemency for 78-year old Max Dunlap who was convicted for the 1976 murder of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles. Bolles died 11 days after a bomb exploded beneath his white Datsun (now enshrined in a museum dedicated to journalism) and Dunlap was believed to have hired two men to do "the job." In his clemency application, Dunlap says that he does not expect to live long, that he is "truly sorry" for his involvement with the other suspects in the crime and that he is "sorry for the newspaperman."See story here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Arizona: Request

The Tuscon Weekly is reporting on Carl Maynard who participated in three armed robberies in 1976. No one was hurt in the process, except Carl, who was shot during the third. Today, the 75-year old says, "It was wrong, what I did ... It was stupid. Stupid. Stupid." Maynard's co-defendants took pleas and received sentences of one year, one year of probation and five years and a day respectively. But Maynard received three 30- to 50- year terms (under sentencing guidelines that have since been revised) and, as a result, he will not be eligible for parole until 2039. The article pointedly notes, "people who are killing people are getting parole after 25 years." Maynard's original lawyer promised to file an appeal, but never did.

The Weekly also emphasizes that the biggest hurdle between Maynard and clemency is Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), who has not granted a single clemency application since taking office in 2003. Napolitano was a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general. In fact, the past three governors granted very few applications for commutations. Alex Heveri, a public defense attorney says applications to that go to Governor Napolitano are "meaningless." He says he has also been told that the Board of Executive Clemency has even resorted to sending her the "three most important" applications, so as to "get her to look at more serious cases" but all to "no avail." See complete story here.

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