Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No clemency

I suppose you could argue that Arizona's governor is not approving clemency for an ailing prisoner who's served 35 years for a murder he probably didn't commit because she really thinks it's the right thing to do.

Or you could say she's doing it to get elected to a full term as governor of Crazyland, in which case you'd have to say this further confirms Jan Brewer is a monster.

Last year, the five members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency unanimously recommended to Ms. Brewer that Mr. Macumber be released after 35 years in prison “to correct a miscarriage of justice.”

But Ms. Brewer rejected the board’s recommendation without explanation in November. It is possible that politics played a role in her decision; Ms. Brewer, a Republican who became governor last year, is running for a full term in November.

“She denied the application right after she announced that she was running for governor,” said Katherine Puzauskas, a lawyer with the Arizona Justice Project at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The project, which was founded by Mr. Hammond and works to overturn wrongful convictions, has represented Mr. Macumber since 2000.

There is little political upside to granting clemency, but there is a substantial risk, as Mike Huckabee learned when a man whose sentence he commuted as governor of Arkansas in 2000 killed four police officers last year.

P. S. Ruckman Jr., a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., has been fuming about Ms. Brewer’s handling of the Macumber case. “I have been following state clemency for 30 years,” Mr. Ruckman said, “and this is easily, easily, the most disturbing. It’s borderline despicable.”

“Common-sense notions of justice should compel a governor to provide an explanation for imprisoning a man deemed innocent by an official board created to make such judgments,” he added. “You don’t imprison a man for no reason.”

A spokesman for the governor said Ms. Brewer had reviewed the case thoroughly, but he provided only boilerplate concerning her reasoning.

“Every executive clemency case is carefully scrutinized as the governor balances the very real and important concepts of public safety, justice and mercy,” the spokesman, Paul Senseman, said in an e-mail message.

Mr. Macumber is 74 and in failing health, with heart problems and arthritis, and the threat he poses to public safety is not obvious.

I would have to say that choosing Janet Napolitano as Dir of Homeland Security looks worse and worse.

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Blogger P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

See additional commentary on Brewer's behavior here: http://www.pardonpower.com/2010/06/jan-brewers-private-justice-real.html

1:52 AM  

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