Skip to main content

Popko quoted in ABC article on Smithey clemency

July 16, 2012

Professor Zig Popko was quoted in a July 14 article on ABC about clemency that may be granted to an Arizona woman who has been in prison for 49 years for killing a baby.

The article, “Betty Smithey, Longest Serving Female Inmate, May Get Parole for 1963 Murder,” by Alyssa Newcomb, reported that Gov. Jan Brewer has approved Smithey’s clemency request and agreed to lower her sentence to 48 years to life. Smithey was convicted in the 1963 New Year’s Day murder of Sandy Gerberick, whom she was babysitting, and had been sentenced without the possibility of parole.

Popko, Director of the College of Law’s Post-Conviction Clinic, said a plan for Smithey’s release must be an important part of her Aug. 13 hearing before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.

“She has to show she is not a risk,” Popko 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?”

To read the full story, click here.