Monday, October 4, 2010

New Hampshire: Governor Lynch's "Pardon Program"

A quick call to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office (603-271-3658) reveals that the State's Governor John Lynch (D) and Executive Council (with 5 members, elected to 2 year terms) has received an average of about 20 to 25 applications for clemency per year over the last six years. Most of the applications have involved requests for pardons - to restore civil rights - in order to restore the gun ownership rights of hunters. Yet, over the entire six-year period, Lynch and the Council have rejected every single application, and have granted only ONE applicant the right to a mere "hearing."

Of course, by refusing law-abiding New Hampshire sportsmen the enjoyment of hunting, Lynch is not - in any meaningful sense of the language - being "tough on crime." No, he is simply being an opportunistic bully, a political coward that doesn't seem to understand that abuse of power can also involve inaction.

Lynch is said to be distressed that his opponent, John Stephen, is currently supporting a clemency application! Stephen should not only be proud of the fact that he is supporting a clemency application (also supported by the applicant's sentencing judge). He should also pick the whole issue up and toss it right back in Lynch's face, by solemnly pledging to be more sensitive toward the executive's duty to exercise mercy. Why, a measly five pardons a year from Stephen would constitute a massive clemency program in comparison to the Draconian blustering and inexcusable negligence of the Lynch administration.

Stephen should concede the Dirty Harry Get Tough on Crime Award to Lynch and, instead, quote Alexander Hamilton frequently and reference numerous instances of miscarriages of justice, all the while explicitly laying claim to the Founding Fathers' Sense of Justice and Mercy Award!

The Constitution did not contain the pardon power in order that presidents NOT use it. So - Stephen should ask loudly, and repeatedly - just what does John Lynch know about separation of powers and checks and balances that the Founding Fathers were so ignorant of? And why does the constitution of the State of New Hampshire feature the power? So people like Lynch can be proud of not using it? Ridiculous.

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