As most of you know, the victims of the crimes for which I am imprisoned, who are also surviving family members, hired Attorney Michael Kaiser to file a clemency petition on my behalf in an effort to have my sentence reduced. We all knew that it would be a long shot, and our thoughts were confirmed based on the reactions received, and the confusing feedback from the Arkansas Department of Corrections Clemency/Parole Board.
The Parole/Clemency Board Chairman suggested that we would be granted a hearing due to the victim support and my having an attorney, however, I was denied exactly that. As with such a process where no just means no – no explanation required nor rarely given, it has been suggested Vice-Chairman of the Board, Lona McCastlain had a strong impact on the denial.
As in 2006 McCastlain, as the Lonoke Prosecutor, along with the current Prosecutor, Chuck Graham, and Judge, who ruled on my appeal two years ago, were her assistants at the time. Not exactly what you would call a fair and just consideration of the merits of the appeal nor application for clemency, but if we know anything about Lonoke County, Arkansas, they love to hide their secrets and failures.
I received the notification of my denial from Governor Asa Hutchinson, and it was a carbon copy of the denial that I got in 2006. Same result, different Governor. Many of my fellow prisoners, convicted of violent crimes, have also found their clemency petitions denied in the same way. No real explanation, no legal reasoning or logic, simply that after talking to police, prosecutors, and the victim or victims, if applicable, the petition was denied.
One would think that having the support of the victims would make a difference, since it is so rare, yet the opinions of those that had no direct involvement in the case had more value. I am saying all this to answer the questions that I have heard, the amazement over the outcome, and all I can tell you is that when you vote for those in Lonoke County remember who and what you are putting into office.
There is a murder trial going on for one of your youth, right now, who was shot in cold blood by an officer who did so without seeing a weapon. A young man with promise and potential, whose life was cut short, and the elected officials have sought to not hold him accountable. My point? Pay attention to what you get from your Lonoke Halls of Justice and, as pay attention to the outcome of cases that you do not agree with, and make the decision to change the leadership responsible. Halls that still embrace the Walls, and I am not talking about the kind holding up the roof.
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