Court Records Illustrate Why Brewer Tries to Protect Mental Health Funding

Phoenix, AZ – Ronald Brewer was indicted in 1989 on two charges of sexual
assault and one count of kidnapping after forcing his way into a
woman's home. He eventually was found not guilty by reason of
insanity. Those court records were open until last year, just
days before Brewer became governor, when her son had his
attorneys successfully get an order having them sealed. The
governor, in a pair of interviews with Arizona Public Radio, said
she played only an indirect role in that decision.

(Ron spoke to me and was concerned specifically that he knew
having a mother as governor that it was much higher profile. And
he just felt it would benefit himself, and I suppose myself,
because he's protective of course of me.)

But the governor said that, open records or not, her son's
history of mental health problems are a part of who she is. Last
year, for example, all state agencies were being forced to cut
their budgets. Brewer told them if they wanted their funding
restored they had to prove to her their needs were more important
than the cash being taken from services for the mentally ill.

(Everything we do in life, our challenges and our successes, they
become part of us. And when you've been affected in different
ways, of course, it makes you a different person. And of course,
all of that good times and bad times ends up in the market-basket
and you call on those tools.)

That still leaves the question of the records being sealed last
year. Brewer said she can't say whether that was a mistake.)

(You know, I can't speculate on that 'what if'. I just can't. I
believe that he believed he was doing the right thing. And,
obviously, it ended up probably making a bigger story out of
something than what it was.)

Brewer said she hopes for some sort of successful treatment,
including the possibility that Ronnie, now 47, eventually will be
discharged from the state hospital. But the governor said she is
under no illusions that his life will ever be ``normal.''

(He is seriously mentally ill. He will always be under the
jurisdiction of mental health providers.)

And Brewer said she talks with him daily by phone. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.