THE MYTH OF JUSTICE

"When it came to a dead reporter," John Harvey Adamson said, "they just put him in the ground and turned him over to the worms." I was sitting in a small room with Adamson in the Arizona State Prison at Florence. He was in shackles that held his arms pinned to his sides. With difficulty, he managed to puff on a cigarette. Our talk took place in January 1985 when Adamson was still under a death sentence. He desperately wanted to testify against Max Dunlap and Jimmy Robison. On death row since November 1980, he saw it as his only way to save himself from the gas chamber. "Nobody wants me to be talking to you," Adamson said. "I know it will drive the attorney general up the wall. The warden hates it. My lawyer advised me against it." Then Adamson said something surprising. "But the reason I'm talking is that I want to see justice done. You think that sounds funny. Yeah, I know that sounds strange coming from me." He shook his head. "They want me dead," Adamson said, "because when I'm dead, the case is really closed. They'll never have to open it again. The big guys who paid to have Don Bolles killed will really have gotten away with murder." Adamson has spent so many years behind bars that he's been able to disassociate himself from the street punk who lured Bolles to his death by car bomb. "I may be somewhere near the bottom of the barrel," he said, "but if you shove me aside, there's still plenty of room to stand shoulder deep beneath me." Adamson had been willing to testify for years. It was Corbin who held things up. "When the trial is over, let them execute all of us at one time," he said. I asked him if he thought about the death penalty. Adamson's expression changed. "If you had cancer, would you think about it all the time?" he asked. "You live until you die." Adamson had a folder full of legal papers on his lap. He has worked on the case constantly for all these years. "I know now that justice is a myth. I also know that nobody cares any longer what happens to the Bolles case. The biggest thing that Corbin wants, outside of becoming governor, is to have the case forgotten and me in the gas chamber." He was willing to talk about Dunlap, the man he must once again testify against. "Dunlap is guilty as hell and he's now back out on the streets. "How do I know he's guilty? You see, there's one thing I learned about being in prison. "I know who the murderers are in here. I live with them. When you live on the outside with people like Dunlap, you can never know who they really are." Corbin actually admitted the other day that he had done nothing about bringing the case to trial because "I was just so damned mad at Adamson." Adamson was the one link that could assure a conviction, but Corbin refused to deal with him. That admission, spoken freely before television cameras, speaks volumes about Corbin's abilities as attorney general. Adamson finally gets the last laugh. Corbin has delayed justice for years. He can call all the press conferences he wants. He still comes off looking every bit as sinister as the men he's charging in the case. Here is an attorney general who delayed working on a murder case until it was time to clean out his desk and leave the Attorney General's Office. He was almost on his way out the door before admitting Adamson's testimony was vital. Don't kid yourself. Corbin knew all along he needed Adamson to make his case. But his pride was more important to him than the quest for justice. A couple of months ago, a friend of Dunlap's set up a meeting in which I would talk to Dunlap but not quote him. We talked for an hour or so. The Arizona Republic keeps saying Dunlap is independently wealthy. He drives an old pickup truck and has been bankrolled since getting out of prison by old friends. We talked for more than an hour, with Dunlap insisting all the while on his innocence. Dunlap and his lawyers had learned that Corbin was planning to reindict Dunlap and Robison in the Bolles case on the eve of the election. It was a political ploy. It was designed to ensure the election of Steve Twist, Corbin's assistant, as his successor. Corbin and Twist figured the Dunlap arrest would create a big enough splash in the press to give Twist the votes he needed to defeat Grant Woods in the Republican primary. The story of the planned arrest got out. It became too politically risky to announce the indictment at that time. Now we have Corbin acting at the last second. And once again it's another grandstand move that Corbin hopes will gain continued employment for the lawyers assigned to the case. If ever a case cried out for it to be taken over by a new team of lawyers, the murder of Don Bolles does. Corbin and his gang have not only botched it, but covered it with a stench that won't just waft away. The ideal thing would be for Woods, himself an excellent trial lawyer, to take over the case himself. He has a background as both a defense attorney and a judge. He knows how the drill goes far better than Corbin and his discredited gang. "The biggest thing that Corbin wants, outside of becoming governor, is to have the case forgotten and me in the gas chamber." Corbin still comes off looking every bit as sinister as the men he's charging in the Bolles case. "The big guys who paid to have Don Bolles killed will really have gotten away with murder.

 
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