In February 1983, Albuquerque police officer Gerald Cline was brutally murdered while responding to a call for service at a low-rent motel.
A jury convicted Joel Lee Compton of this heinous act, and the judge in the case sentenced Compton to death.
It is astonishing to note that despite these facts, Compton (henceforth to be known simply as New Mexico inmate #7207) may soon walk free.
No Parole for Joel Lee Compton
In November 1986, the then-lame-duck Governor of New Mexico — Toney Anaya, who had just been handed a landslide electoral defeat — commuted the death sentences of all five inmates on the state’s death row.
Anaya declared at the time that he felt the death penalty to be “inhumane, immoral, anti-God, and incomputable with an enlightened society.”
To me, so is letting a cop-killer go free on the streets, as may happen if we don’t collectively raise our voices in protest of the possible parole for New Mexico inmate #7207.
Officer Cline left behind a loving wife and three beautiful children who were forced to grow up without their father, who at the time of his death was just 35 years old.
Before you read any further, please click here to visit the excellent online resource created by our good friend Chris Cosgriff over at ODMP.org.
There, you can quickly generate a letter which you can print and mail to the parole board (it needs to be there by Friday, so do this now!).
It will take you less than 60 seconds.
When you’re done, come back and read the rest of this column, because there is more work to be done...
ODMP: More than a Memorial
See? That didn’t even take you one minute, and you’ve done some righteous good work to help the family members left behind when New Mexico inmate #7207 fired a round from a 30-30 rifle point blank into Officer Cline's chest, killing him.
I haven’t written one of these “no parole for a cop killer” columns in quite a while. Not because I lost interest, but because Cosgriff and his team have done such an amazing job at informing law enforcement officers and civilians alike about pending parole hearings.
I visit ODMP.org every single day, so it’s become something of a habit for me to regularly click the No Parole icon in the lower right corner of the homepage for newly-scheduled hearings.
I was surprised to learn that not everyone already knows about it — so I want to use today’s commentary to spread the word about Cosgriff’s great work in this fight to keep cop killers behind bars.
“We wanted to be sure that we proactively honored fallen officers,” told me today via email. “So, beyond having a memorial on ODMP, we wanted to be sure we did everything we possibly could do to ensure justice was served. We didn’t think sitting idly by while a cop killer was released was honor enough.”
Strong Success Rates
Cosgriff and I both know how well this stuff works. “We have received firsthand reports from both survivors and parole boards that the volume of letters received resulted in parole denials.”
Cosgriff said that of the 60-plus parole hearings that ODMP has profiled, only one has resulted in parole being approved.
“All of the others have been denied or are pending a final determination,” Cosgriff said.
If memory serves, I’ve written seven of these columns, and all seven hearings resulted in denial of parole for the cop killer. New Mexico inmate #7207 is number eight for me, and I don’t plan on breaking my undefeated record.
Cosgriff cautions against assuming others will do the work for you.
“Don’t skip sending in a letter just because you think other people will send in theirs. Mail your letter to EVERY parole board once we profile an upcoming hearing.”
Please be advised that:
• Victor Gutierrez, who murdered Amarillo Police Patrolman Berry McGuire on Christmas Day in 1980, is eligible for parole on or around February 28th, 2013
• Michael Martin, who was responsible for the execution-style murder of California Correctional Officer Victor Sam in August 1977 is eligible for parole on or around March 17th, 2013
• Ben Sanders, who murdered Milwaukee Police Officers Gerald William Hempe and Charles Smith in January 1973, is eligible for parole on or around March 30th, 2013
There are others — many too many — so check back often for updates.
One final note: Cosgriff and the team at ODMP rely on notifications from survivors or departments who get notified of upcoming hearings. Contact ODMP — or email me and I will notify them on your behalf — of any such hearings coming onto your radar.