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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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Former Thomas attorney may sue over appeal costs (access required)

Former deputy county attorney Rachel Alexander, a key figure in the case that led to former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas’ disbarment, is planning to sue Maricopa County if it doesn’t pay the legal costs for her to appeal the suspension of her law license.

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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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