War between the states UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 3, 2009

War between the states UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 7:15 AM

The Washington-Arkansas dispute over parole procedures in the case of suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons rises to the national stage. Procedurally, at least in this account, Arkansas seems to make a credible claim that its actions related to Clemmons were justified.

There may be more to be learned yet about intervention by Clemmons or his family, through a lawyer, to get an Arkansas parole violation warrant withdrawn at one point. Is such intercession with the community corrections director routine and routinely successful?

UPDATE: I spoke at length today with David Guntharp, director of Arkansas's community correction department. He defends actions by his agency, staff and the state parole board in handling the Clemmons case. He says the decision to withdraw an absconder warrant earlier this year, as requested by Clemmons' attorney, was done only after confirmation with Washington that Clemmons' whereabouts were known. (He was in jail.) Also, he notes that Arkansas had issued a parole violation warrant and requested that Washington continue supervision until those charges were resolved.

For the record, here is a complete file of communications by the Arkansas department on that issue.

ADDITIONALLY: A local criminal lawyer comments about his own experience on making pleas to the department about parole violation warrants and whether they can routinely be withdrawn on plea from a lawyer:

Never with me.  My clients are sometimes revoked for what I think are frivolous reasons, and, in Arkansas, a PV hold doesn't let them out at all, even if they make bond on the underlying charge.  If Clemmons were in Washington, he would be administered by the Washington parole officers, so it is their system that let him out.  If Clemmons were in Arkansas, he'd still be in jail, and the cops would be alive.

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