by | Mar 29, 2023 | MEETING MINUTES, MM-Prison Reform/Death Penalty Task Force Meeting Minutes

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Time: 1:00 p.m.

Opening prayer – Paul Bullis

Introductions/Check-In – Marilyn Hawley, Paul Bullis, Jim Ek, Ed Brown, Patty Ek, Billie Fidlin, Question about bond election.

Issues/Updates – Paul Bullis reports

Death Penalty

            Aaron Gunches’ request for execution – Last year 3 executions. Atty Gen Mark Brnovich last year reported no reason to avoid execution. 3 execution warrants issued and executed. New Atty Gen and new Gov put a hold on executions. Gunches withdrew the request. Supreme Court went ahead with the execution warrant. Gov said we have a moratorium on executions now. After demands that execution proceed, Supreme court said it was a warrant not an order. All steps not taken to stop it yet but likely will be no execution. The issue is difficult and there are strong opinions on both sides. appointed retired magistrate judge to look at the issues.

            Letter to Gov. Hobbs, AG Mayes – Arizona Faith Network position on the death penalty, families, families of victims, etc. Unknown if letter has gone out.

            Commutation – Resolution for Annual Conference – Paul sent this to the group. To commute death sentence to a different sentence. Ed suggested: Keith Seaman (LD 16 and Casa Grande UMC member) be contacted to help sponsor a bill to eliminate death penalty.

            Death Penalty session at Annual Conference, Friday, June 16, 11:30 am – basically a summation of Sister Prejean’s Questioning the Death Penalty program that we did online a few months ago. Invitation for those present to participate in discussion presentation.

            Questioning Death Penalty series – Paradise Valley UMC – Pam is doing this at PV. There was no participation at the most recent showing. Publicity is lacking. She wants to do it again with better promotion.

Legislation – SB 1475 (Repeal Death Penalty) – No a sponsor in legislature. No significant bills this year. This bill was presented but dropped. Nothing is going on in Nevada.

Private Prisons – letter to Gov. Hobbs – John Dacy and Robert Carrier (Abolish Private Prisons). Lawsuit against Private Prisons. John wrote a letter to the Gov. to abolish private prisons. We are in the middle of some 5-year contracts. UMC against PP. Bishop affixed his name to that letter as well.  Ed Brown commented on private prisons. He will mail a letter, “If your congregation doesn’t have a prison ministry, you’re not doing it right.”

Old business

New issues/business –

            Future activities or events? – Billie and Paul noted upcoming events. Paul reminded us of the:

  • Arounet ReEntry Simulation< 4/14/2023, 5-7pm, Co+HOOTS Coworking Space, 221 E. Indianola Ave, Phoenix.

Billie made us aware of the following:

  • Saturday (this) The Village, 1st UCC. 1407 N 2nd Street, Phoenix (re-entry & prison groups gather to exchange ideas, listen to presentations etc) 9 – 11:30
  • Saturday, April 15  9 – 12 Wesley UMC – The Village presents Amanda Knox – this is a conference put on by The Village, Knox is keynote speaker

Billie asked if we should all sponsor one at our respective churches. Maybe an annual conference activity in 2024.

Closing prayer – Jim Ek

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 31st at 1:00pm.

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Author: Rev. Jim Ek

Rev. James (Jim) D. Ek is a retired full elder of the Desert Southwest Conference.

The Desert Southwest Conference is a diverse and loving organization with open doors to a variety of people and partners in ministry. Celebrating our connection and diversity, we offer various resources. Content on this site includes information from other organizations that may not reflect the official policies or Social Principles of The United Methodist Church or the Desert Southwest Conference.

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