Idaho judge weighs if governor has power over commutations

Judge dismisses teacher's lawsuit
Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 20:24:24-05

BOISE, Idaho — A state judge is weighing whether Idaho’s Constitution allows the governor to reject a parole board’s recommendation when it comes to commuting a death sentence.

2nd District Judge Jay Gaskill heard arguments in Gerald Pizzuto Jr.’s case on Thursday. Pizzuto has been on death row for more than three decades after being convicted for the July 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors at a cabin north of McCall.

The state parole board recommended that his sentence be changed to life in prison, but Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he wouldn't commute the sentence. Pizzuto's attorneys say the state Constitution doesn't allow the governor to override the parole board's recommendation.