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Author Archives: Gary Grado

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Ex-Fiesta Bowl CEO’s sentencing postponed (access required)

Former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker will have a few more weeks of freedom, as a judge postponed his Thursday sentencing. Junker pleaded guilty in February and March in state and federal courts to crimes in connection with a scheme in which the Fiesta Bowl illegally contributed to political campaigns. He is facing a prison sentence of up to 2.5 years.

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Dust-up leads to Clemency director’s firing (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer fired the outgoing executive director of the Board of Executive Clemency after three newly confirmed appointees showed up late for work Monday.

Their tardiness caused a two-hour delay of clemency hearings as victims and families of prisoners stood by disgruntled, and waited for a quorum to form.

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Thomas won’t appeal disbarment; criticizes accusers

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas took a swipe at his accusers and the Arizona Supreme Court today in announcing he is not going to appeal his April 10 disbarment. Thomas had until 5 p.m. today to file a notice of appeal, but instead sent an email to the press to say that he can’t continue the legal proceedings because the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors refused to pay for his attorneys.

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3 new appointees on clemency board; long-time chief out (access required)

Duane Belcher, chairman and executive director of the Arizona Board of Clemency, is on his way out after 20 years, as three new appointees take their places on the panel now made up entirely of Gov. Jan Brewer’s picks. Belcher’s departure, some observers say, creates a vacuum of experience and leadership. Belcher is also one of the last members left from a board that unanimously recommended in 2009 to reduce a life sentence for a man many believe is innocent of a double murder.

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Legislature reconsiders sweep of court automation fund (access required)

Legislative budget staffers are re-evaluating a proposed $10 million sweep of a Supreme Court fund after court officials howled that losing the money would cripple courts across Arizona. The legislative budget proposal targets the Supreme Court Automation Fund, which is supplied by fees for defensive-driving classes, time payment fees for people who make payments on their court fines, and surcharges on fines.

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Intense legal fight over proposed Glendale casino moves to 9th Circuit

The fight over whether a Southern Arizona tribe can build a massive casino near Glendale’s entertainment district moved to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday. The city is contesting a trial court’s decision to uphold the Department of Interior’s decision to create reservation land out of 54 acres of unincorporated land near 95th and Northern avenues. The Tohono O’odham tribe wants to turn the parcel into reservation land under the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act, a 1986 federal law that allowed the tribe to replace nearly 10,000 acres of land that was destroyed by flooding from the federally-built Painted Rock Dam.

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