Judge rejects challenge to makeup of Arizona clemency board

A Maricopa County Superior Court decide rejected a challenge from a demise row prisoner alleging the state clemency board is comprised of too many former legislation enforcement officers.Clarence Dixon, sentenced to demise for the 1978 homicide of Deana Bowdoin, is scheduled to go earlier than the board on April 28. His execution is scheduled for May 11.In a Petition for Special Action filed within the Superior Court, Dixon’s authorized crew claimed the Board of Executive Clemency is “illegally constituted.”State legislation says “No greater than two members from the identical skilled self-discipline shall be members of the board on the similar time.”Dixon’s attorneys identified that three of the 4 present members of the board previously labored as legislation enforcement officers, whereas the fifth seat is vacant.But in a ruling issued Monday, Judge Stephen Hopkins disagreed with their definition of “skilled self-discipline,” calling it extraordinarily broad.”Historically, legislation enforcement has not been thought of as a ‘occupation,'” Hopkins wrote. “It will not be regulated as different professions are, and has little of the traits of what is often thought-about a occupation.”Hopkins went on to say the phrase “self-discipline” is a extra restrictive limitation inside a occupation.”For instance, a basic surgeon is a distinct ‘self-discipline’ than is a vascular surgeon,” Hopkins mentioned, stressing once more that “Law enforcement will not be a ‘occupation.'”Hopkins mentioned the three members of the clemency board in query — Salvatore Freni, Louis Quinonez and Michael Johnson — “symbolize a distinct ‘self-discipline’ throughout the massive rubric of legislation enforcement based mostly upon their employment histories.”Johnson and Freni each retired from the Phoenix Police Department after a long time of service, and Quinonez served for 27 years in federal legislation enforcement, in accordance to their profiles on the Board of Clemency web site. Joshua Spears, an legal professional on Dixon’s authorized crew, mentioned they’re reviewing their choices to enchantment the Superior Court’s ruling.”Mr. Dixon is entitled to a good clemency listening to earlier than an neutral Clemency Board that complies totally with state legislation,” Spears mentioned, “not one that’s illegally stacked with legislation enforcement officers.”Have a information tip on Arizona prisons? Reach the reporter at [email protected] or at 812-243-5582. Follow him on Twitter @JimmyJenkins.Support native journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com right this moment.


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