Friday, November 26, 2010

Michigan: Former Governor Lobbies for Pardons

Jack Lessenberry of Wayne State University has an editorial in today's Toledo Blade regarding former Governor Bill Milliken, "Michigan's longest-serving governor. " The piece says Milliken "usually doesn't give his successors advice these days unless they ask for it." The sole exception would be in the matter of "dozens of women in Michigan prisoners who he is convinced don't belong behind bars." Lessenberry says these women "are no threat to society," but mostly "battered and abused women who were unjustly convicted or got sentences far harsher than they deserved." Thus Milliken has joined with the Michigan Women's Justice and Clemency Project in seeking clemency on their behalf.

Carol Jacobsen the director of the Michigan Women's Justice and Clemency Project - who has interviewed with this blog - says there are actually "hundreds" of women like them in Michigan prisons and "nearly a third of the women sentenced for murder did not kill anyone themselves," while "others killed in self-defense, or to protect their children from abusers." Her concern is that juries and sentencing by judges "really didn't understand the battered women syndrome."

Today, the group is pressing for clemency for 28 women "whose cases are compelling and who clearly deserve freedom." The article reports governor Granholm (the State's first female governor) "leaves office New Year's Day." See full editorial here.

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