Theoretically, pardon boards are supposed to have wide latitude to dispense mercy. They are not bound by previous legal rulings of the courts and may give full sway to whatever heart or conscience dictates. But, being appointees of the governor (and subject to removal at his descretion), they can hardly ignor the wishes of their patron. There are no special qualifications required by law for the job, so Board positions are natural slots for political appointments.
State of Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles
JUNE 15, 2002
Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights, the attorney trying to save Wallace's life, asked the board during a hearing Friday to wait at least 90 days before holding the hearing because two members of the five-member board abruptly resigned Thursday [June 14, 2002]. "We asked them to grant a 90 day stay because of this political storm, and they don't even have a full board. They didn't decide one way or another and asked us to go on and put on our case."
The two former members are pending an ethics investigation. Walter Ray is a former state senator and Bobby Whitworth who is a former corrections commissioner. Both have been under investigation over allegations they accepted money to lobby legislators on behalf of a company that supervises probationers. Their names have also been mentioned in an unrelated investigation of state senator Van Streat, D-Nicholls, who faces charges that he took a campaign contribution in exchange for helping get a convicted murdered moved to a less secure prison.
The same day the two board members resigned, Governor Barnes appointed Buddy Nix, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to fill one of the seats and stated he would fill the other seat later.
The board told the media they would have a decision Monday on whether it will commute Wallace's sentence or grant him 90 days so Governor Barnes can appoint another member to fill the additional vacent seat.
Parole Board Duo Should Resign
The Equal Time column concerning the good works and reputation of the Georgia parole board was quite amusing (“Georgia Parole Board Leads In Public Service,” @ issue, May 1).
Granted, the parole board has become more professional and has achieved high grades. Unfortunately, the under-the-table deals of Walter Ray and Bobby Whitworth undermine the board’s credibility.
Ray and Whitworth are intelligent and should know that the consultant work in which they engage is wrong. It may not be technically illegal, but it is certainly improper and unethical. For the sake of the board and the state, they should resign or be relieved of their duties.
PUT YOURSELF IN A PRISON CELL, VIRTUALLY . . .
Georgia Puts 360-Degree 'Slam Cam' Online
~ Click On His Photo To Return To Wallace's Home Page ~