- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) Three members of the state Parole Board have resigned under pressure, with one denouncing Gov.-elect Mark R. Warner for forcing out the entire board.
On Monday, Mr. Warner, a Democrat, announced that he would replace the remaining four members of the five-member Parole Board within a month of his inauguration tomorrow, and might work to abolish the board altogether.
Mr. Warner acted less than a week after Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican, sharply criticized the board for granting parole to two inmates Joseph N. Martin, 51, convicted of masterminding a 1977 murder-for-hire plot that left two dead in Arlington, and Floyd R. Honesty, 47, who bludgeoned to death a Navy man in Fairfax County in 1975.
Mr. Gilmore said it was outrageous for the board to give insufficient notice to the victims' relatives and local law officers of the convicts' release.
"I agree with Governor Gilmore," Mr. Warner said. "I will be appointing a new board within the first 30 days and will insist that the Parole Board put procedures in place so victims and families [of victims] and law enforcement are notified before this kind of violent offender can be released."
Board Chairman James L. Jenkins, who will stay on for a while to handle routine board business, said yesterday that board members David M. Hummell of Norfolk, Charles L. Waddell of Loudoun County and Linda R. Pitman of Williamsburg turned in their resignations Tuesday, effective tomorrow.
Messrs. Jenkins, Waddell and Hummell were appointed by Mr. Gilmore. Miss Pitman was named to the board by former Gov. George Allen and reappointed by Mr. Gilmore.
"I will be leaving as well," said Mr. Jenkins, of Henrico County, but no date has been set. He said he will stay on to handle such duties as issuing arrest warrants for parole violations and dealing with parole supervision.
Mr. Hummel, who was appointed in October, said he expected Mr. Warner would want to replace the Parole Board members eventually, but he did not expect Mr. Warner to act so quickly.
"I think he acted prematurely before he had the full information," Mr. Hummel said. "The problem is, he's not experienced with how the government works, especially this part of the government."
Mr. Warner said Monday that he would appoint new members to each of the board's five seats and questioned the need to pay board members an annual salary of about $90,000 six years after the state abolished parole. The board hears cases from inmates who were incarcerated before the ban took effect.
Parole Board members are appointed for four-year terms but serve at the pleasure of the governor, and Mr. Gilmore's term ends tomorrow.
Board member Kent A.P. Smith resigned last month before Mr. Gilmore criticized the board.
Mr. Jenkins, the only member of the board to oppose parole in both of the controversial cases, said he felt Mr. Warner had been poorly advised to summarily dismiss the board.
"This parole board has made approximately 40,000 pardon grant or deny decisions, and the overall grant year in the fiscal year that ended in June was 2 percent for violent offenders and about 8 percent overall, and that's probably the lowest in the nation," he said. "What happened in those two cases is out of character for this board."

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