Thursday, February 7, 2008

Context: Ye Olde Checks and Balances

Over at Douglas Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy blog, former U.S. Pardon Attorney Margaret Colgate Love has provided excellent insight into the checks and balances aspect of the padon power which appears to have beem lost by the wayside:

Since the late 1970's, when Jimmy Carter's attorney general Griffin Bell delegated responsibility for making clemency recommendations to the chief operating officer of the Justice Department, the pardon program has lost whatever independence and integrity it once enjoyed within the Department. In recent years, it has functioned primarily to ratify the results achieved by prosecutors, not to provide any real possibility of revising them. As a result, it has lost its capacity to serve and protect the presidency ...
Historical insights like this are worth at least 150 of the typical articles one finds on the pardon power in a newspaper. See full commentary here.

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