Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Obama Appoints New Pardon Attorney

Deborah Leff
Deborah Leff is Acting Senior Counselor for Access to Justice at the US Department of Justice. The Access to Justice Initiative was established in March 2010 to address the access-to-justice crisis in the criminal and civil justice system. ATJ's mission is to help the justice system efficiently deliver outcomes that are fair and accessible to all, irrespective of wealth and status. The Initiative's staff works within the Department of Justice, across federal agencies, and with state, local, and tribal justice system stakeholders to increase access to counsel and legal assistance and to improve the justice delivery systems that serve people who are unable to afford lawyers.

Prior to joining the Justice Department in 2010, Ms. Leff held a variety of leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She was President and member of the Board of Directors of the Public Welfare Foundation, a national foundation based in Washington, D.C., focusing on criminal and juvenile justice, health reform, and workers' rights. She has also served as Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum; President and CEO of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization; and President of the Joyce Foundation. During much of the 1980s and early 1990s, Ms. Leff was Senior Producer at ABC News Nightline, World News Tonight and 20/20, overseeing coverage that won numerous national awards, including the Emmy and the DuPont awards. She is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of StoryCorps and previously served on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, CARE and the Children's Defense Fund. She also chaired the Midwest Rhodes Scholars Selection Committee.

Ms. Leff received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where she was named a University Scholar. She earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Lake Forest College.

Former U.S. Pardon Attorneys, 1892-2014
C.F. Scott (1892-1893)
William Endicott, Jr. (1894-1896)
John H. Campbell (1897-1899)
James Easby-Smith (1900-1904)
Peyton Gordon (1905-1907)
James A. Finch (1908-1935)
Robert H. Turner (1936)
Daniel M. Lyons (1937-1953)
Kenneth V. Harvey (1954-1955, 1957)
Reed Cozart (1956, 1958-1968)
T. Oscar Smith (1969)
Lawrence M. Traylor (1970-1976)
John R. Stanish (1977-1979)
David C. Stephenson (1980-1990)
Margaret Colgate Love (1991-1997)
Roger Adams (1998-2008)
Ronald L. Rodgers (2008-2014)
Deborah Leff (2014

Obama's Commutation Plan: Systematic. Limited. Reasonable.

Yesterday, we presented our view of the possible factors that might be considered in a grid for President Obama's commutation of sentence plan (see post here). We argued favorable recommendations might be best directed to those who:

1) are first time offenders
2) are non-violent offenders
3) committed offenses when they were relatively young
4) who would not even be in prison were they sentenced under the current sentencing guidelines for drug offenses.

We added that top priority should be given to those who meet these criterion and

5) have a respectable record of conduct in prison
6) have the support of a judge and/or 7) a federal prosecutor

Today, the Deputy Attorney General has made the administration's grid public (see full post here). It focuses on prisoners who

· likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
· are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;
· have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;
· do not have a significant criminal history;
· have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
· have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

Although no one asked us, we were clearly in tune with most of the administration's concerns. We continue to hope that the youthfulness of offenders (at the time of offense) can be considered. The role of judges and prosecutors seems unclear in the administration's plan - and that is worrisome. Surely their views will not be ignored altogether. In general, the administration's plan appears systematic and reasonable.

Obama's Commutations Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 
Announcing New Clemency Initiative, 
Deputy Attorney General James 

M. Cole Details Broad New Criteria for Applicants 

New Pardon Attorney Named 

As part of the Justice Department’s new clemency initiative, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole announced six criteria the department will consider when reviewing and expediting clemency applications from federal inmates.

Under the new initiative, the department will prioritize clemency applications from inmates who meet all of the following factors:

 · They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
· They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;
· They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;
· They do not have a significant criminal history; · They have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and · They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

“For our criminal justice system to be effective, it needs to not only be fair; but it also must be perceived as being fair,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “Older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system, and I am confident that this initiative will go far to promote the most fundamental of American ideals – equal justice under law.”

In December 2013, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight individuals who were sentenced under an outdated regime—many of whom would have already paid their debt to society if they had been sentenced under current law. Since that time, President Obama has said he wants to consider more applications for clemency from inmates who are similarly situated. The Department of Justice, which assists the president in the exercise of executive clemency by reviewing petitions for clemency for federal offenses and making recommendations, is committed to carrying out this important mission and has pledged to provide the necessary resources to fulfill this goal expeditiously.

Outside of this initiative, any inmate can apply for commutation under the standard principles for which executive clemency has been granted historically. This initiative applies to a limited category of petitioners whose clemency applications may be especially meritorious.

Deputy Attorney General Cole also announced Deborah Leff, Acting Senior Counselor for Access to Justice, as the new head of the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Ronald Rodgers, who previously held the position, will assist Leff during a transition period and will then take on another role at the department to be announced at a later date.

“Over the past several years, Ron has performed admirably in what is a very tough job. He has demonstrated dedication and integrity in his work on pardons and commutations,” Cole said.

Deputy Attorney General Cole added that Acting Senior Counselor Leff’s work with the department’s Access to Justice program makes her uniquely qualified to step into the pardon attorney’s role.

“Deborah has committed her career to the very basis of this initiative - achieving equal justice under law,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “As Acting Senior Counselor for Access to Justice, her fundamental mission has been to help the justice system deliver outcomes that are fair and accessible to all.”

To facilitate the thorough and rapid review of the new clemency applications this initiative will likely spur, Deputy Attorney General Cole announced that he issued a department-wide call for attorneys willing to help review new petitions. These attorneys will help assess the petitions to determine which fall within the six stringent standards and merit further consideration. Department lawyers will be temporarily assigned to the Pardon Attorney’s Office.

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will notify inmates in the coming days about this initiative and the availability of pro bono lawyers from the newly formed Clemency Project 2014. The Clemency Project 2014, which is made up of independent, outside groups as well as federal public defenders, was organized in response to Deputy Attorney General Cole’s Jan. 30, 2014, speech at the New York State Bar Association in which he called for assistance in identifying appropriate clemency petitions under this initiative.

In addition to notifying inmates of this initiative, BOP will provide interested inmates with an electronic survey that will help both pro bono lawyers and Justice Department lawyers to screen the petitions for the Office of the Pardon Attorney to quickly identify whether inmates meet the criteria for the program. BOP case managers will continue to provide inmates assistance with submitting the appropriate paperwork for clemency applications.

Deputy Attorney General Cole sent a letter to all of the 93 U.S. attorneys asking for their assistance in identifying meritorious candidates and notifying them that the Pardon Attorney’s Office will be soliciting their views on petitions that appear to meet the criteria after an initial screening by the lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney. The new clemency initiative is an outgrowth of Attorney General Holder’s “Smart on Crime” initiative, which is intended to strengthen the criminal justice system, promote public safety and deliver on the promise of equal justice under law.

The Deputy Attorney General’s Office oversees the Office of the Pardon Attorney. The department assists the president in the exercise of executive clemency. Under the Constitution, the president’s clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the pardon attorney for investigation and review. Petitions are then sent to the Deputy Attorney General for review and recommendation to the president.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Obama's Commutation Program: Details Forthcoming

It is reported that, later this week (perhaps tomorrow), Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole will announce specific details about the "expanded criteria" the Justice Department will use to review applications for commutations of sentence. He will also detail the logistical effort underway to ensure proper reviews of the anticipated wave of applications.

Readers of this blog are well aware of the fact that there has never ever really been a shortage of applications for commutations of sentence in the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Recent years have brought in record numbers. The problem that is difficult to ignore is what happens to the applications once they are in that Office. A former U.S. Pardon Attorney famously described that Office as the place where applications simply "go to die."

Earlier this week, the White House sent signals that it might finally be ready to address this situation. Media were also informed that President Obama may commute the sentences of hundreds, if not thousands, of federal prisoners (at point we noted back on March 15).

To date, we know very little about "the plan." For years now, persons such as myself have supported the notion of removing the pardon process from the Department of Justice altogether, or the creation of a Gerald Ford-style Vietnam clemency board (an idea first touted by Mark Osler). That Board took in applications and reviewed them, one at a time, on the basis of clearly stated guidelines. The idea was to make tough but necessary decisions in a systematic - but complex - way, as objectively as possible.

The Editor of this blog continues to want a Ford-style approach to commutations of sentence. It would be great if the decision-making grid in the Office of the Pardon Attorney would favor commutation applications from 1) first time offenders 2) non-violent offenders 3) those who committed offenses when they were relatively young 4) those who would not even be in prison were they sentenced under the current sentencing guidelines for drug offenses.

In my view, those who meet these criteria and 5) have a respectable record of conduct in prison 6) the support of a judge and/or 7) the support of a federal prosecutor should be moved to the top of the pile. Their applications should receive top priority. They should not be in prison another day.

I would even be supportive of commutations of sentence for those who meet most of the above criteria and happen to be 65 years of age or older.

Finally, although no one has mentioned it to date, it seems that it might be prudent to grant "conditional pardons" in many instances as a means of commandeering good conduct from those who might not appreciate the historic nature of their big break. There is little doubt that any instances of repeat criminal offenses will receive a world of publicity and there is no rebuttal quite as effective as immediate revocation of commutation and re-imprsonment.

Similarly, the President should use the above criteria to grant "conditional commutations of sentence at a later date."  That way, those early in their sentences, under the old guidelines, can receive a reduced sentence, consistent with the new guidelines. The "conditions" could then also include good conduct in prison. Generally speaking, one hopes that the lawyers that are supposed to be headed to the Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in processing applications are sensitive to the legal and political value of these options.


McCarthy: Anatomy of a Goofy Slander

Evidently, not wanting to miss a chance to slander the President, Andrew McCarthy said, on The Kelly File, last night:
So [Obama's] essentially going to rewrite Congress laws by springing everyone. This is not about individual justice in cases and mitigating mistakes or hardships.
First, there is no sense in the universe that the President plans to empty our federal prisons, by "springing everyone."

Second, as the President's plan has not been revealed, there is no way on earth that McCarthy can know if his decisions will be about "individual justice" or "mitigating mistakes or hardships."

Indeed, everything we know, to date, suggests a system will be put in place where specific standards are applied to individual applications - very much like Gerald Ford's post Vietnam amnesty.

Even someone as blinded by ideology as McCarthy could have picked up on that from reports and commentary stretching back over the last 2-3 years. Epic fail.

Clueless McCarthy Denies Presidential Amnesty Power

Appearing last night on The Kelly File, Andrew McCarthy said:
If in individual cases, injustice has been done, if there are mitigating circumstances in a case that warrant a correction, that's why the President has the power. But he's not taking about individual cases here. He's talking about a category of federal law that he philosophically disagrees with. So he's essentially going to rewrite Congress laws by springing everyone. This is not about individual justice in cases and mitigating mistakes or hardships. This is about rewriting federal law.
Of course, Presidents have been granting group (as opposed to individual) pardons for centuries and, many times without any argumentation whatsoever that there was an "injustice" in need of "correction" Of course, along the way, they also "essentially" slapped the face of categories of federal law, passed by Congress.

Welcome to America, Andy. Join in! Tradition!

President
Date
Details
Washington
July 10 1795
Whiskey Insurrectionists
Adams
May 21 1800
Pennsylvania Insurrectionists (Fries Rebellion)
Jefferson
October 15 1807
Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison
February 7 1812
Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison
October 8 1812
Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison
June 14 1814
Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison
February 6 1815
Pirates participating in War of 1812
Jackson
June 12 1830
Military deserters discharged, those confined released
Buchanan
April 6, 1858
Utah uprising
Lincoln
February 14 1862
Political prisoners paroled
Lincoln
March 10 1863
Military deserters restored with only forfeiture of pay
Lincoln
December 8 1863
“Rebellion” participants (with exceptions) subject to oath
Lincoln
February 26 1864
Military deserters sentences mitigated, restored to duty
Lincoln
March 26 1864
Clarification of December 8, 1863, amnesty
Lincoln
March 11 1865
Military deserters (if returned to post in 60 days)
Johnson
May 29 1865
Certain rebels of Confederate States
Johnson
May 4 1866
Clarification of previous amnesty
Johnson
July 3 1866
Military deserters restored with only forfeiture of pay
Johnson
September 7 1867
Confederates (excepting certain officers) subject to oath
Johnson
July 4 1868
Confederates (except those indicted for treason or felony)
Johnson
December 25 1868
Confederates (universal and unconditional)
Harrison
January 4 1893
Mormons practicing polygamy
Cleveland
September 25 1894
Mormons practicing polygamy
T. Roosevelt
July 4 1902
Philippine insurrectionists, subject to oath
Wilson
June 14 1917
5,000, Persons under suspended sentences
Wilson
August 21 1917
Clarification, reaffirmation of June 14 amnesty
Coolidge
December 15 1923
Espionage Act
Coolidge
March 5 1924
Over 100 military deserters. Restoration of citizenship.
F. Roosevelt
December 23 1933
Over 1,500 who violated Espionage or Draft laws.
Truman
December 24 1945
Thousands of ex-convicts serving at least 1 year in war
Truman
December 23 1947
1,523 draft evaders (recommended by Amnesty Board)
Truman
December 24 1952
Convicts serving armed forces at least 1 year since 1950
Truman
December 24 1952
Military deserters convicted between 1945 and 1950
Ford
September 16 1974
Vietnam draft evaders. Conditioned on public service
Carter
January 21 1977
Vietnam draft evaders. Unconditional pardon

Monday, April 21, 2014

McCarthy on Mercy, Lawlessness, Usurpation, Etc.

Over at PJ Media, Andrew McCarthy is warning us about "presidential lawlessness disguised as pardon power." Wow. Sounds that sounds serious!

More specifically, McCarthy is reacting to the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that lawyers "will be reassigned to the Justice Department’s pardon office in anticipation of a surge of applications from drug offenders for reductions in their sentences — applications the Obama administration has signaled it would look upon favorably. " Says McCarthy, this exercise is "another transparent usurpation of legislative power by the president."

Jefferson "Lawlessness" Type
True enough, it very much reminds one of  Thomas Jefferson's vile campaign promise pardon those convicted under the ever so popular (and certainly wise) Alien Sedition Acts - you know, the ones that allowed the Adams administration to imprison anyone who dared to criticize the government, or made government officials look bad. These laws passed by Congress, I tell you! CONGRESS ! Who did Jefferson think he was, usurping legislative power by looking favorably upon such criminal trash?

Says McCarthy, "The pardon power exists so that the president can act in individual cases to correct excesses and injustices" ... to which we say, Says who? Can he quote a single Founding Father who said such a thing? Even one? Hamilton argues one reason to have the pardon power was to quell rebellions. It could be a devise used to bring rebels back into the fold. Hamilton must not have had McCarthy's e-mail address, or read McCarthy's legendary Rules for - and the Only Two Purposes of - Pardons (forthcoming?)

And, by the way, what are we to think when judges complain that mandatory minimum sentences are an exercise in "excesses?" Ignore them, and go with McCarthy? If judges think they result in excessive punishments and the Obama administration believes the result has been "injustices" ... then why isn't McCarthy in the corner, applauding, or at least nodding in approval?

Washington "Legislative Usurper"
Ah, but McCarthy explains / has the answer: "if the law is to be changed, our system requires that it be changed by passing laws in Congress" ... again, referencing zero Founding Fathers in the process. One supposes that George Washington and John Adams were way out of bounds pardoning the Whiskey Rebels and participants in Shays' Rebellion.

Maybe they should have had some hangings first and then some good old congressional debate on the matter.

It is amazing how much faith McCarthy places in the institution Americans typically have the least amount of faith in (Congress). It is amazing that self-proclaimed conservatives can be so suspicious of government, so sure that government inevitably screws up everything it touches, and yet - quite selectively - ascribe nothing less than absolute perfection to the legislative and judicial processes. American Government 101 kids: the pardon power is part of our system of of checks and balances and separation of powers. It is based on the assumption that the legislative and judicial branches are not perfect. Who on earth, at this late date, could possibly disagree?

The pardon power was not given to presidents so that they may not use it. They were not invited to participate in the legislative and judicial pursuit of justice so that they may pretend the invitation does not exist. Philosophers more articulate than McCarthy have long noted that, in the so-called strict sense, every exercise of clemency (presidential pardon) is "lawless." And some have even followed that position to its logical conclusion: there should be no pardon power.

Thankfully - in large part because of Christianity and our sorry experience with common law in England - this country has never adopted such a position. Alexander Hamilton argued there should be "easy access" to mercy in the United States. If McCarthy desires such an approach to law, he should move elsewhere. We recommend China. See McCarthy crack up here. See our prognostications on this topic generally, from a March 15th post, here.


Hope? Change? Mercy, at Last?

Liz Goodwin has an interesting piece at Yahoo News, highlighting the case of one Barbara Scrivner, serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison for "selling a few ounces of methamphetamine." The sentence was the consequence of a "mandatory minimum" which brought complaint even from her sentencing judge. But, Goodwin reports,
A senior administration official tells Yahoo News the president could grant clemency to "hundreds, perhaps thousands" of people locked up for nonviolent drug crimes by the time he leaves office 
Of equal interest, she notes:
The scope of the new clemency initiative is so large that administration officials are preparing a series of personnel and process changes to help them manage the influx of petitions they expect Obama to approve. Among the changes is reforming the recently censured office within the Justice Department responsible for processing pardon petitions. Yahoo News has learned that the pardon attorney, Ronald Rodgers, who was criticized in a 2012 Internal watchdog report for mishandling a high-profile clemency petition, is likely to step down as part of that overhaul. Additional procedures for handling large numbers of clemency petitions could be announced as soon as this week, a senior administration official said, though it could take longer. 
Indeed, the piece says "former and current administration officials" blame the Office of the Pardon Attorney for "recommending that the president deny nearly every single petition for a pardon or a reduced sentence." A staff member in that Office, Sam Morison, wrote "to a West Wing attorney":
 "I must bring to your attention the near total collapse of the pardon advisory process." See full story here.

See our own, additional commentary on this topic, here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Illinois: 43 Pardons

Gov. Pat Quinn, who has exercised clemency more than 1,000 times since taking office, has granted 43 pardons.

A news release says the grants "are part of dockets that date back to 2007." Recipients have "recently undergone criminal background checks."

See story here.

California: 63 Pardons

The Los Angeles Times reports that Gov. Jerry Brown's office has granted 63 pardons (see details here) "tying the clemency decisions to Good Friday." According to the Times, Brown has granted 314 "at Christmas and Easter" since he took office in 2011. A news release also observed:
“A gubernatorial pardon may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior and have lived productive and law-abiding lives following their conviction, ... Pardons are not granted unless they are earned.”
It is also reported that Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson combined granted 29 pardons over 20 years. See story here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Obama's Commutation for a Typo? B-O-R-I-N-G !

Once upon a time, (or, more specifically, on January 11, 1904), Kid Kelley murdered one Jim Dillingham at Tishomingo (in "Indian Territory"). Kelley was convicted on November 28, 1905, and sentenced to be hanged on February 23, 1906. The hanging was delayed while the case was appealed, but things seemed to settle a bit once the conviction was upheld by the Indian Territory Court of Appeals (on September 26, 1907). A “writ of error” was allowed, however, and on October 10, the case was forward to the United States’ Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which granted a stay of execution.

That is when Oklahoma became the 46th State in the Union.

The files for Kid Kelley's case were transferred from the United States' Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to the newly created Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma. But that court packed them all right back up and sent them over to the newly created Criminal Court of Appeals (in the Federal system). On April 9, 1909, the Attorney General of the United States filed a motion to have Kelley's case removed from the docket of the Criminal Court of Appeals. In his mind, the "final decision" had been rendered by the Indian Territory Court of Appeals way back in 1907. The Criminal Court of Appeals agreed with the Attorney General on November 18, 1909.

But while the big debate over whether the case should be settled in the state's judicial system or the federal judicial system, the Indian Territory Court of Appeals went out of existence. State officials - including the Governor - contended Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction over Kelley's case and suggested Federal authorities step in.

Kid Kelley sat in prison and waited.

And he waited some more.

Ten years later, he was still waiting.

The New York Times credited an Oklahoma newspaperman for discovering this mess and setting in motion a “movement” to have Kelley released ... or hanged! Finally, in 1922, the Attorney General of the United States took charge. First, the Attorney General concluded that it “appeared from the testimony” a more proper charge for the Kelley case would have been “manslaughter.” It was then observed that Kid (who was not much of a kid any more) had, by that time, been in custody for over seventeen years - almost twice the length of the sentence one could be given for the crime of manslaughter. Kelley’s sentence was commuted to time served “at once.”

More Chatter from the White House

Katheryn Ruemmler
USA Today Reports President Obama "is reviewing the process" for granting pardons. More specifically, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler says:
"The president believes that one important purpose can be to help correct the effects of outdated and overly harsh sentences that Congress and the American people have since recognized are no longer in the best interests of justice," 
Ruemmler also says the administration will attempt to "get the word out" to prison inmates that the president has the power to pardon:
"This effort also reflects the reality that our overburdened federal prison population includes many low-level, nonviolent offenders without significant criminal histories." 
and
"the administration believes there is a larger pool of meritorious candidates for both pardons and commutations, and encouraged both types of applications."
Ruemmler's comments come on the heels of similar comments by :
- the President
- the Attorney General
- the Deputy Attorney General
- and about every scholar in the world who has ever given this topic any degree of serious thought. See story here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Obama Commutes Sentence to Correct Error

The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama has granted the 10th commutation of sentence in his administration. It is reported that an "error" was made "in a report used to sentence convicted drug dealer Ceasar Cantu of Katy, Texas, and resulted in 3 1/2 extra years being added to his prison term." Obama thus commuted the sentence (handed down in 2006) from 180 months, to 136 months.

Jay Carney says, "Given the circumstances of this case and the manifest injustice of keeping a person in federal prison for an extra three and a half years because of a typographical mistake, the president wanted to act as quickly as possible." See story here. and here.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blog News: New Ranking

The Pardon Power Blog has been ranked among the Top 50 Criminal Law Blogs. More specifically, the site Criminal Justice Degree Schools has ranked this blog 13th, based upon "website metrics including Page Authority, number of websites linking to the blog, MozRank, Google PageRank, and Domain Rank. The data is taken from third party sources including Opensiteexplorer.org, Google, and Ahrefs.com."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gov. Mike Beebe, Who Does He Think He Is?

Gov. Mike Beebe
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe just doesn't get it.

The man uses the clemency power, a check and balance explicitly provided to him by his State's Constitution, on a regular basis, yes, even monthly! For some reason(s), he does not do nothing for many months in a row - like many State governors, and the President of the United States. Nor does Beebe simply wait until December to grant pardons. Why, he isn't even waiting until the last days and hours of his term to dump pardons (in the manner of Haley Barbour). This man, Beebe, is granting pardons right and left, as though the power given to him was meant to be used - not neglected for long periods of time, or abused.

Apparently, Beebe has not gotten the memo, informing him that, if he is not careful, he might be "Willie Hortoned"! Richard Nixon outlawed coddling up to criminals in the late 1960s. Who doesn't know this?

Beebe does not seem to comprehend that critics will eagerly misrepresent his decisions as having overruled the decision making of judges and juries. Why, even Governor Scott Walker (Wisconsin) gets this, and refuses to even allow the great American tradition of executive clemency to be anywhere near his State's criminal justice system. George Washington and James Madison may have coddled up to Whiskey Rebels and Baratarian Pirates, but the legendary contributor to the Republic, Scott Walker, is no such wimp.

Beebe's pardons fall so regularly, in such an even-handed manner, why, one suspects he sees clemency as a regular part of the business of being governor and that, perhaps, he may even have a systematic approach to what he is doing, maybe even a clear set of standards. How in the world can this kind focus and rationality be tolerated even as Mitt Romney brags about having pardoned no one? It is baffling.

Google away looking for stories of how Beebe's pardons have "backfired" - how he has sprung violent criminals from prisons for no apparent reason, only to see them reek havoc on society once again. Google away. It is almost like there is nothing there. Nothing whatsoever. How is Beebe getting away with this, month after month, year after year? It is downright baffling.

One has to wonder: how many other governors could be doing this?

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s
Clemency Record
Month
Year
Pardons / Commutations
April
2014
10
March
2014
9
February
2014
5
January
2014
4
December
2013
7
November
2013
3
October
2013
7
September
2013
7
August
2013
3
July
2013
4
June
2013
7
May
2013
8
April
2013
6
March
2013
8
February
2013
5
January
2013
3
December
2012
7
November
2012
7
October
2012
7
September
2012
4
August
2012
5
July
2012
6
June
2012
9
May
2012
7
April
2012
7
March
2012
6
February
2012
7
January
2012
4

172

blogger templates | Make Money Online