Friday, December 4, 2009

USA Today on Huckabee

From USA Today:

If governors are blamed for any pardon or grant of clemency that ends in grief, they will simply get out of this business. They pretty much have, with Huckabee being the most notable exception. Governors should certainly be judicious. But there are reasons for pardons to continue — including reasons of public safety.

There simply are not enough prison beds to keep criminals behind bars as long as they should be there. Elected officials add to this problem every time they legislate mandatory minimum sentences, taking away the discretion of judges and prosecutors to evaluate which convicts should get shorter terms to free up space for those who should stay in prison longer. Governors and presidents still have unlimited discretion, but they use it at their own peril.

... The nation would be well served to have competent officials making thoughtful decisions. If they did, crime rates might actually go down as the worst criminals could stay in prison longer.

In this case, Huckabee exercised his professional judgment and made a decision he later regretted, as do we all. Other governors avoid these mistakes simply by not making these decisions. That may do wonders for their political prospects. But, on balance, it doesn't make the world any safer.
See complete editorial article here.

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