In a legal sense, it is about executive clemency, a seldom-used procedure by which a governor can grant a pardon or commute a sentence. Missouri governors have exercised this power only 15 times since 1992. One case involved an outright pardon. That went to Johnny Lee Wilson in 1995 after an investigation concluded that Wilson had been wrongly convicted of a murder. Most of the others involved commutation from a sentence of life without the possibility of parole to a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.The editorial also discusses the case of a convicted murderer whose clemency application is supported by former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, state Sen. Michael Gibbons amd former state Sen. Franc Flotron. See story here.
Although clemency is seldom granted, hope amongst the clemency-seekers has been running high ever since Gov. Matt Blunt announced he would not seek re-election. Governors running for re-election, or for another office, generally don't want to run the risk of looking soft on crime. But a governor who's returning to civilian life? Perhaps that's a different story.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In an editorial for today's St. Louis Dispatch, Bob McClellan writes about clemency in the state of Missouri. Along the way, he notes: