Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Florida: Call for Clemency from Jewish Organizations

 The executive heads of seven Jewish organizations have sent a letter to Governor Crist asking him to grant clemency to Martin Grossman, who is scheduled for execution next Tuesday. More specifically, Crist is being asked to commute the death sentence to life in prison. Grossman murdered a Florida Wildlife Officer when he was 19 years old and, according to his supporters, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It is argued that Grossman has been a "model prisoner" for 25 years. He is also said to have shown "profound remorse and regret for his actions.” It is reported that more than 200 organizations have sent Governor Crist a petition requesting a 60-day stay of the execution, in order to properly file an official request for clemency. See story here.

Crist's status as the front-runner for a seat in the U.S. Senate has eroded largely because of the perception that he is Republican in name only (RINO). The primary evidence against him seems to have been his warming up to President Obama's "stimulus plan." But, more importantly, from the standpoint of Mr. Grossman, Crist has not yet received - or been denied - his party's nomination for a seat in the United States Senate. Which is to say, as reasonable as the request for a mere chance to apply for clemency might seem, the timing of the situation simply could not be worse.
Indeed, if the primaries were over, PardonPower might very well see this as a 50-50 proposition. Crist would not have to be as concerned about posing for one side of the "base" and could make the decision with an eye toward the general electorate. To be sure, the media would blast him right away for "pardoning" Grossman (in the manner of Mike Huckabee), but a stay of execution in order to allow for the filing of a petition for clemency could eventually be explained and justified to most voters. Like Huckabee, Crist could even gain support from that scenario.

Of course, the final decision would still remain. If he had the nomination, it is not likely that many Republicans would forsake Crist because of a commutation of sentence which leaves someone in prison. If the nomination was lost, on the other hand, them Crist would certainly have very little to lose and no one to impress (save his conscience).

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