Legal challenge claims Arizona clemency board is stacked with former law enforcement officers, violating law

The Arizona Board of Govt Clemency represents a person of the final probabilities for people condemned to die to help save them selves from the death penalty.

But a legal challenge from a man on death row promises the board is crammed with law enforcement and as a result inherently prejudiced versus him.

Soon after a defendant has exhausted their appeals course of action, and an execution date has been established, the clemency course of action starts.

Defendants have a listening to before the board where they can make their situation for mercy.

The board then votes to make a suggestion to the governor as to no matter if to grant some type of reduction in the form of a “Commutation of Sentence and/or a Reprieve.” The governor can take or deny the board’s suggestion.

Clarence Dixon, sentenced to demise for the 1978 murder of Deana Bowdoin, is scheduled to go just before the board on April 28. His execution is scheduled for May possibly 11.

In a Petition for Distinctive Action submitted in Maricopa County Excellent Courtroom, Dixon’s authorized group claims the Board of Government Clemency is “illegally constituted.”

“Mr. Dixon is entitled to a good clemency hearing ahead of an impartial Clemency Board,” Dixon’s attorney Joshua Spears claimed in a assertion. “To guarantee a fair listening to, Arizona law restrictions the Board to no a lot more than two members from the exact professional self-control.

“If the Board proceeds with 3 of its 4 members becoming regulation enforcement officers, it will violate Mr. Dixon’s suitable to a good hearing that complies with because of approach and the plain prerequisites of Arizona regulation,” Spears stated.

The five-member board at this time has a person emptiness. Of the remaining four customers, the lawsuit states that three customers — Salvatore Freni, Louis Quinonez and Michael Johnson — are retired legislation enforcement officers, with a combined overall of 85 decades of company in law enforcement.

“The only member who has not served immediately as a law enforcement officer, Board

Chair Mina Mendez, served as an Assistant Attorney Normal in the Arizona Lawyer General’s Business for 6 a long time,” the petition notes.

The lawsuit alleges the existing board composition violates state law, and requests the court “declare the range, nomination, appointment, and confirmation of Salvatore Freni, Louis Quinonez, and Michael Johnson null and void and get Respondents to constitute a Board of Government Clemency which complies with point out regulation and state and federal owing process.”

Dixon’s attorneys asked for to postpone his clemency listening to till the situation is fixed, which would necessitate suspending his execution.

A spokesperson for the Board of Government Clemency said they never remark on pending litigation.

Have a news idea on Arizona prisons? Achieve the reporter at [email protected] or at 812-243-5582. Adhere to him on Twitter @JimmyJenkins.

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This article initially appeared on Arizona Republic: Authorized problem: Arizona clemency board stacked with former officers