Delaware’s Board of Parole is being rocked by internal turmoil, reports the New Castle-Wilmington News Journal. A split on the board got so bad that in late April that four of its five members asked a Superior Court judge to order board Chairman Dwight F. Holden to schedule hearings that the board had requested. That dispute appears to have been settled without a court order, but the troubles within the board run deep, according to the paper.
Although the board is a small and somewhat obscure agency — one that Gov. Jack Markell wants to abolish in a cost-cutting move — it performs some vital functions. It decides whether certain serious criminals who’ve been behind bars for decades will be released from prison, and it is the only post-conviction venue that crime victims have to testify about the impact a criminal has had on their lives. Board members charge that Holden, who as the board’s sole full-time member also manages its administrative office, has overridden board decisions without statutory authority to do so.