Entries in Jan Brewer (6)


Judge Rules in Favor of Arizona's 'Show Me Your Papers' Provision

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Authorities in Arizona will shortly begin enforcing the "show me your papers" provision of the state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled on Wednesday that after stopping someone for violating another law, police officers can question the legal status of individuals if they think they might be in the country illegally.

The decision follows a two-year court battle that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the requirement in June.

In a statement Wednesday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer hailed the court ruling, saying it's been a long time coming.

"Today, Arizona is one big step closer to implementing the core provision of SB 1070.  I applaud the federal court for siding with the U.S. Supreme Court in refusing to block the most critical section of this law, which will empower state and local law enforcement, as part of a legal stop or detention, to inquire about an individual’s immigration status when the officer has reasonable suspicion," Brewer said.

"After more than two years of legal challenges, it is time that Section 2(B) of SB 1070 take effect. Given today’s ruling, along with the federal court’s suggestion that it intends in the very near future to formally lift the existing injunction, it is clear the day of implementation is fast approaching," she continued.

While Brewer said the provision "must be enforced efficiently, effectively and in harmony with the Constitution and civil rights," critics contend it will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Betty Smithey, Longest Serving Female Inmate, May Get Parole For 1963 Murder

Arizona Department of Corrections(NEW YORK) -- Betty Smithey has been in prison for 49 years, convicted of killing a baby. Until now she was without the possibility of parole, but the "old code lifer" has been granted a chance at freedom by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

Smithey, who is the U.S.'s longest serving female inmate according to a public records search by the Arizona Republic, was convicted in the 1963 New Year's Day murder of Sandy Gerberick, a 15-month-old she had been babysitting.

At the time, Smithey was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. According to the law at the time she was sentenced, only the governor could grant her clemency.

She tried, appealing to former Arizona governors Fyfe Symington and Janet Napolitano, but was denied until Brewer, the current governor, approved Smithey's clemency request and agreed to lower her sentence to 48 years to life.

"Given the circumstances of Ms. Smithey's case, Governor Brewer believes this is an appropriate time for the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency to review this case for parole," said Matt Benson, spokesperson for Brewer.

The fate of the 69-year-old will rest in the hands of the five-member Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, who will hear Smithey's case on Aug. 13.

Smithey's attorney, Andy Silverman, said news of the hearing that had been granted "came as a pleasant surprise."

"If she was found guilty today, it may be second-degree murder. If she had [been convicted of second-degree murder instead of first] in 1963 when she was tried, she would have been out of prison many years ago," Silverman said.

Smithey escaped four times during her first few decades in prison. But a letter she received from her young victim's mother in 1983 flipped a switch in her and made her use her time to "be reflective," Silverman said.

At 69, Smithey walks with a cane and has battled breast cancer and "a myriad of other health issues," Silverman said.

"She's absolutely not a threat to society. She's almost 70 years old now," Silverman said. "She's done a lot of reflection. Forty-nine years in prison, you think a lot about what you've been through."

If released, Smithey plans to live with her niece, Silverman said.

The contingency plan for her release will be an important piece of Smithey's parole hearing, said Zig Popko, clinical professor at Arizona State's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU.

"She has to show she is not a risk is what it comes down to," he said. "A board member will look at where she is going to be living. Does she have friends or family who are willing to take care of her? Does she have a release plan?"

Three of the five members of the parole board will have to vote in Smithey's favor in order for her to be released. If the hearing is unsuccessful, she'll be eligible again in six months.

"At this stage," Popko said, "She has gotten over the biggest hump."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Preps Police for Supreme Court Ruling

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to be sure her law enforcement officers are ready for an upcoming Supreme Court decision.

Within the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will decide the fate of some key provisions of Arizona’s strict immigration law, SB 1070, and she hopes the justices will reverse a lower court that blocked four provisions from going into effect.

One section is referred to as the “show me your papers” provision, and it requires law enforcement officers to ask a person they’ve stopped for papers if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally.

The Obama administration challenged the law just after it was signed, and a lower court sided with the administration and blocked the provision from going forward.  The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case at the end of April and the federal government asserted that SB 1070 interferes with existing federal law.

Immigration groups are also challenging the law in the lower courts arguing that it will lead to racial profiling.

The Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training Board, charged with providing training guidelines for Arizona’s police officers, developed a video and training materials that were issued to officers after the law was signed two years ago.

Gov. Brewer has issued an executive order mandating that the materials are redistributed to law enforcement officers by the end of business on Friday.

A spokesperson for the governor said on Wednesday, "Gov. Brewer thinks this is an appropriate time to revisit the training and make certain that all Arizona law enforcement officers are informed on how to implement and enforce SB 1070 without violating civil rights or the Constitution.”

In her executive order, Brewer required that officers are trained on what constitutes “reasonable suspicion.”

According to the order, the materials will include a DVD and a training manual that will include “an explanation of documents law enforcement officers can use to determine whether identification presented to them is sufficient to presume a person is not an unlawfully present alien.”

The materials make clear, according to the executive order, “that an individual’s race, color or national origin alone cannot be grounds for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated.”

Brewer stipulates that if the Supreme Court reverses the lower court and allows any of the provisions to go forward, the training materials will be supplemented within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Bans Funding for Planned Parenthood, Organizations That Perform Abortions

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX, Ariz.) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that will cut off public funding for organizations that perform "nonfederally qualified abortions," striking a blow to Planned Parenthood in the state.

The new law, signed Friday, excludes only those abortions that are "necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest." Those circumstances are covered by Title 19 of the Social Security Act.

"This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer said in a statement. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."

Arizona joins Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas in fully banning state money from being dispersed to any organization that provides abortions, despite other services that may be offered, including birth control, well-woman exams and cancer screenings.

Three other states -- Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin -- have used their budget processes to bar public funding for abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood officials in Arizona said being cut off from state funding would affect nearly 20,000 women in the state who turn to the organization for preventative health care and family planning services.

"We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill," Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement.

Fewer than one in 10 visits at the organization are for abortions, the Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona already had a law in place that prohibited state-funded abortions. The state's Republican-helmed legislature said the new law was passed in an effort to close a loophole that they say could have indirectly allowed funding of abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona said it is considering legal action.

The controversial laws have already led to legal action in Texas, Kansas and Indiana.

On Monday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Planned Parenthood providers who do not perform abortions could not be excluded from the state's Women's Health Program.

"For many women, we are the only doctor's visit they will have this year," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This ruling affirms what women have known all along: Politics simply doesn't have a place in women's health."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


AZ Governor on Immigration Law: 'This Case Is Not Just About Arizona'

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday praised the Supreme Court’s decision to step in and hear a case challenging key provisions to her state's tough immigration law.

"This case is not just about Arizona," Brewer said in a statement.  "It's about every state grappling with the costs of illegal immigration.  And it's about the fundamental principle of federalism, under which these states have a right to defend their people."

Brewer says that when she signed the law she was "keenly aware" of the need to respect federal authority over immigration-related matters and that the legislation authorizes "cooperative law enforcement" and enforces sanctions that parallel federal law.

The Obama administration has argued that Arizona's immigration laws interfere with existing federal law.

"Those provisions do not represent an effort to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing federal immigration law; instead, they are designed to establish Arizona's own immigration policy," the administration argues in court briefs.

Brewer has been outraged that the Obama administration has filed suit against Arizona and other states with similar legislation.

"Arizona has been more than patient waiting for Washington to secure the border.  Decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation, and states deserve clarity from the Court in terms of what role they have in fighting illegal immigration," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona Governor Vows to Sue Federal Government Over Immigration Law

Photo Courtesy - Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is playing the "sue me, sue you" blues as she awaits a decision regarding her state's immigration law that would allow police to question people about their immigration status during the course of a regular arrest.

With the law failing to be enacted because of a Justice Department lawsuit, the Republican governor said Thursday she would file a counterclaim that charges the federal government with not controlling the border as it should to prevent illegal immigrants from entering Arizona.

Brewer declared, "It’s the federal government’s responsibility to protect the public safety, health and welfare of the people of our country."

The Justice Department contends that Arizona is not allowed to question the legal status of people who live there, arguing it is the job of the federal government to handle immigration matters.

Arizona reportedly has 460,000 undocumented aliens among its population of 6.6 million.  Brewer says the problem costs her state $1 billion annually in medical coverage and education costs for illegal immigrants.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio