Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ohio: Rutherford B. Hayes' Pardon Rules

As Governor of Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes developed some personal "guidelines" with respect to pardons. First, Hayes suggested a pardon (or a “promise” of one) should never be granted “on the first presentation of the case.” Second, cases should be considered “all together” if “two or more" were "concerned in the crime.” Hayes observed “one is often called the dupe until he is pardoned; then the other becomes the dupe and the pardoned man the leader.” Third, Governor Hayes advised against pardoning any man who was not “provided with employment or the means of subsistence” or had no “friend” to “receive him as he comes out of prison.” Fourth, Hayes maintained that the opinions of judges, prosecuting attorneys "and some intelligent citizen of sound sense” were critical elements in sound clemency decision-making. And his final rule: any and all of the above rules could be “departed from in cases requiring it.”

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