... Last November, the Democrat granted pardons or commuted sentences for 78 people who committed crimes including drug abuse, forgery, theft, robbery and murder ...Yes, that does make for quite the headline in the wrong set of hands. It invites one to ask, "Why Strickland setting all of these criminals free, to run in the streets?" But, Marshall is careful to further explain that 77 of the 78 persons were already "free," to "run in the streets" if you will. Strickland simply granted pardons to individuals who had already served their time, paid their debt to society and had lived law-abiding lives in their communities for significant periods of time. He didn't give them a "get-out-of-jail-free card." He simply restored their right to vote, serve on a jury, etc. You know, all of those things those people "in the streets" are so want to do! Thus, if anyone is to blame for them being "free," it would be the judges who sentenced them! So, let the investigations begin! Let the heads roll!
Marshall is also careful to note that Strickland actually rejected a whopping 74 percent of the clemency applications that came before him as Governor. It is pretty difficult to spin that number as an indicator of being "soft on crime." Yes, you have really have to work at it to get to that conclusion!
But, oh, some people will not be deterred in their artistry ... Marshall notes Strickland's rate of clemency grants was six to eight times higher than his Republican predecessors Bob Taft and George Voinovich and this has "raised some eyebrows." In other words, to have done even a very little in the way of clemency was to have done a great deal in comparison with Taft and Voinovich, whose administrations were the hallmark of distraction, neglect and - it seems - the romantic and Draconian view that punishment should never end.
Think we are exaggerating? Look up the figures. Voinovich rejected 93 percent of the clemency applications that came his way. In his first two years, the Ohio Board of Parole recommended that Taft grant clemency in 39 cases. Taft rejected 34 of the 39 recommendations. Why? Because he knew more than the Board? He was more wise? Was the Board stacked with soft-on-crimers? Whatever personal views and opinions Taft and Voinovich had, their policies in the matter of clemency were - through the lenses justice - embarrassing, irresponsible, pernicious, shameful. In contrast:
Cast in the best light possible, it's clear from the IG's report and his clemency decisions that Strickland holds a deep belief that prisoners can be rehabilitated. In short, that people can be redeemed ...See complete editorial here.