Monday, November 16, 2009

Rethinking the Pardon Power

This article from the Bangor Daily News discusses a recent speech by Kurt L. Schmoke, dean of the Howard University School of Law and former mayor of Baltimore, before a group lawyers and law students at the University of Southern Maine.

According to the Daily News, Schmoke aregued that it is time for both presidents and governors to "rethink" the role of the pardon and use that power to "remedy excesses in the criminal justice system." Unfortuately, he noted more recent pardons "seemed to be received only by the well-connected and influential." Said Schmoke:
"Rather than viewing with trepidation the opportunity to pardon or commute, the executive should welcome the chance to review annually the operation of the justice and correction systems to see if there is a need to ameliorate the often coldly objective application of criminal laws,”
and suggested the so-called “war on drugs” was a good place to start.

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