Monday, November 23, 2009

Ohio: From the Office of the Governor

Governor Ted Strickland today announced clemency decisions for 63 pending applications carried over from 2005 and 2006, and 233 applications recommended by the Ohio Parole Board in 2007 ... The governor’s office estimates that in excess of 1,000 person hours have been spent reviewing the cases announced today. Says Strickland:
“I believe the clemency power should be used judiciously to give a second chance to those who have demonstrated they deserve it, and to modify the unusually long sentence that is out of sync with the norm. I do not intend my clemency decisions to be seen as a determination that mistakes were made by judges, prosecutors, police officers or others in the criminal justice system. These decisions are another part of the overall system of justice that attempts to hold individuals responsible for their behavior while recognizing that ours is a society able to forgive, and welcome back, those who demonstrate they have earned, and can responsibly handle, society’s mercy and forgiveness.”
Today’s decisions are for all pending clemency applications for which the parole board made a recommendation prior to January 1, 2008. This includes recommendations made to both Governor Bob Taft and Governor Strickland with some extending back to 2005.

2005-6 Clemency Requests
* Governor Bob Taft did not act on 63 clemency requests from 2005 and 2006.
* Of the 63 applications, Strickland:
* Denied 30 requests
* Granted clemency 33 times – 29 pardons and 4 commutations
* the Parole Board recommended to grant clemency 38 times and to deny clemency 25 times.

2007 Clemency Requests
* Strickland reviewed 233 clemency applications received in 2007.
* Of the 233 applications, Strickland:
* Denied 188 requests
* Granted clemency 45 times – 39 pardons and 6 commutations
* the Parole Board recommended to grant clemency 43 times and to deny clemency 190 times.

Most of Strickland’s favorable clemency decisions are grants of pardon (2005-2006: 29; 2007: 39) associated with comparatively minor and/or non-violent offenses. In every case, these pardons have been granted to individuals who have completed their entire sentence, usually many years ago. Virtually every case involves an individual who has not reoffended with the exception of traffic violations. The individuals granted pardons today have demonstrated that they have been rehabilitated and have assumed the responsibilities of citizenship.

A small number of favorable clemency decisions are grants of commutation (2005-2006: 4; 2007: 6). In most of these cases, the governor has concluded, after careful review of each case, that the sentence imposed for the crime amounted to a fundamental injustice, or was so overly disproportionate to the sentences imposed upon others committing similar offenses, that a modification of the sentence was warranted.

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