We’ve carried Mara Leveritt’s regular reports on Tim Howard’s progress from Death Row to a recent retrial that should have left him immediately parole eligible after 19 years in prison.
He remains in prison. The state parole board today said it needed 30 more days to get more information about a case in which every conceivable fact is known.
A note from Mara comments:
As I wrote after Howard’s parole hearing, he has a perfect prison record, an attorney ready to employ him, two others offering an apartment in their home, and friends who will give him a car. He obtained his GED while on death row without having access to classes. All that was presented to the parole board.
The judge and one juror wrote to object to his release. Two jurors wrote letters saying their verdict was intended to assure his release. We assume relatives of the victims objected.
First the ADC didn’t want to award Howard good time for the 14 years he spent on death row. Objections to that position led to the recent parole hearing. Today the parole board announced that it has “deferred” action on Howard for another 30 days, claiming it needs “more information.”
The facts of this man’s case are clear. Years ago, three of the supreme court’s seven justices wrote that they did not see enough evidence in his case to convict him, let alone to sentence him to death. He was retried earlier this year and now has been held years beyond the sentence he received at that trial. his sentence, yet the state refuses to release him, even on parole. Here, at a time when we are supposed to be reducing prison populations, I doubt the parole board sees many candidates better qualified for release than this man.
In my view, this latest move by the state—this deferral—is nothing but a political attempt to salvage some officials’ reputations. Howard has been jerked around for 16 years and he is still being jerked around. This should have ended long ago.
`UPDATE: You can see from the following document that each member of the jury signed a statement saying they were aware that, with the 38-year sentence, Howard would be immediately eligible for prison release.