The case has obvious political overtones. Two clemency board members, Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, are in competitive races for the U.S. Senate and governor, respectively. Granting a full pardon to a registered sex offender so close to an election could invite explosive charges from political opponents, but Crist said that did not affect his judgment.Crist says the election is no factor in his derision making, but the Times observes that "only Attorney General Bill McCollum, who recently lost a bid for the Republican nomination for governor, advocated removing Morgan's name from the offender list." See complete story here.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thomas Lee Morgan is the nephew of the late Herb Morgan, a well respected former State representative, but, in 1992, Thomas was also sentenced to 10 years' probation for sexual battery against his former wife. That landed him on the State's sex offender registry. Now, two decades later, the 52-year old wants Governor Charlie Crist to remove his name from the list via executive clemency. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the State's Board of Clemency is considering his request and promising that, after the upcoming election, it will "consider new rules to make it simpler for ex-offenders filing such requests." Says the Times: