Thursday, December 3, 2009

Washington: Racing to Irrationality

Now that the media have had a week to misrepresent the commutation of sentence that Mike Huckabee granted almost ten years ago to Maurice Clemmons, we have arrived at assessment stage of the story. Many agree that Huckabee's presidential aspirations are toast. But others are noting something that would be outright hilarious were the matter not so serious. That's right, some are speculating that it may become even more difficult for individuals to get pardons and commutations of sentence! Yes, the Huckabee pardon backlash may lead us to a tremendous crackdown on the exercise of clemency!

Let's see, Barack Obama hasn't granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence in 317 days as president (making him the 5th slowest president of all time). How shall Mr. Obama crack down on clemency? Revoke pardons granted by his predecessors?

We can't blame Washington governor Chris Gregorie for taking a hard line position on clemency, for PR purposes. Gregorie has received only 215 requests for clemency in the five years she has been in office. But, now, we must be all greatly concerned to learn that she, somehow, granted pardons to 26 convicted criminals! We do not know the nature or impact of those 26 decisions, but, if the media's coverage of the Huckabee affair has taught us anything, it is that none of that really matters.

In her favor, Gregoire turned down an board supported clemency application for a convicted murderer who committed the crime. when he was 13. But she must now realize, under the new Huckabee rules, that she is responsible for the actions of the 26 convicted criminals that she pardoned for at least 4-5 more years.

See story here.

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