Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brewer keeping an innocent man in jail; Arizona politics as usual?

I know I get a little worked up sometimes, questioning the motives, integrity, and even the humanity of many of the players in AZ's political circles.  Usually, however, I can step back, take a deep breath, and regain my perspective and civility.

However, Jan Brewer has utterly beaten me.

She's soulless.  Purely.  Simply.  Unequivocally.


ABC News has the story (KNXV-TV, the local affiliate of the network, has a written story here) of how our unelected governor has refused to release a man who was unanimously granted clemency by the board *she* appointed. 

William Macumber, age 75, inmate number 033867, has been in prison for over 35 years for a murder that someone else has confessed to committing.

The Arizona Executive Board of Clemency took a look at the facts of the case last year, and citing the case as a "miscarriage of justice," recommended that Macumber be released.

Jan Brewer denied the recommendation for clemency, without explanation.

Since then, the victim's son, Ronald Kempfer, has sought both his father's release and a clear explanation for Brewer's intransigence.

The closest thing to an explanation that he has received was something about how his father's release would endanger public safety and that she has made her decision and "it's final."

Now I would like an explanation of something.

Governor Brewer, I realize that you don't read blogs, but people on your staff do, so maybe one of them will bring this question to you.

Pray tell, how does an arthritic 75-year-old man with heart problems who *didn't* commit a crime constitute a threat to public safety? 

Hell, with that description ("an arthritic 75-year-old man with heart problems") all they'd have to do is give him a golf cart and a place to live in Sun City.  He'd blend in perfectly. (I'd make a crack about the dangers of the denizens of Sun City driving golf carts, but that's a fight I don't want to get in right now. :) )

As more than a few of the stories suggested, Brewer's concerns with the clemency may be rooted in election year politics - she doesn't want to appear to be soft on crime (the fact that he didn't actually commit the crime is irrelevent to Brewer's reasoning.)

Only in Arizona would keeping an innocent man in jail be considered a good political move.


Thane Eichenauer said...

If this man is innocent I certainly think the governor should pardon him. I'll suggest that you contact the campaign of Terry Goddard and urge him to state "If elected governor I will pardon William Macumber, age 75, inmate number 033867 within one week of taking office."

Because Terry Goddard doesn't support keeping an innocent person in prison - does he?

cpmaz said...

Thane, please note that in my post, I never advocated for the election of Terry Goddard.

Not that I have a problem with that (I voted for him, after all), but this wasn't an advocacy post. It had nothing to do with the election.

Tell you what though - I *will* contact the Goddard campaign on this matter. Just as soon as Barry Hess denounces Brewer's heavy-handed use of her office in the matter, and also pledges to "pardon William Macumber, age 75, inmate number 033867 within one week of taking office."

For staunch Libertarians like him and you, this should be an easy call.

Because Libertarians don't support keeping an innocent person in prison - do they?

Thane Eichenauer said...

I emailed both Barry Hess and the Larry Gist campaigns last night. I think that if Mr. Macumber is innocent then this would be a great issue for any campaign for governor of Arizona.

I am not a fan of denouncing Brewer though. If Goddard, Hess or Gist wish to advocate for a pardon, that is great. I'll let the voters of Arizona do the denouncing on Tuesday.

I don't see why you would hold back on contacting Terry Goddard's campaign though if Mr. Macumber is as innocent as the Board of Clemency seems to think he is.

Much if not all of this pivots on whether Mr. Macumber is or isn't innocent. Is he? I don't know but I would imagine after Governor Brewer that Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard would have more familiarity with this alleged unjust imprisonment than anybody save the members of the Board of Clemency.

Send the email, make the call.

Andrew said...

KPHO CBS5 ran a story on this months ago and Brewer refused to grant us an interview. We decided that it was too important and showed up at a meeting we knew she was attending and asked her in the hallway why she refused to consider a pardon?

Her answer, "It's a very personal issue", before ducking into an elevator while her security detail blocked the camera.

Personal for who? The family of the victim denied justice? An innocent man in prison? A politician running for office? Why is it too personal to answer a simple question?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Craig, for your thoughtful post. I too am utterly flabbergasted over this issue, particularly. I'm afraid to say, though, that Arizonans don't appear to be adequately concerned with ethical governing.