Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maine: Pardons Finale

The Bangor Daily News reports Gov. John Baldacci (D) has granted pardons to "more than 20 people [in] the waning days of term in office." As a result, two of the recipients were spared deportation. In a statement, the Governor said that he had "considered" the pardons "carefully, over a long period of time, and believe they serve the best interest of justice.” He also said "the punishment of deportation does not fit the crimes."

In Maine, a three-person Board of Executive Clemency reviews hundreds of applications each year, decides whether to grant a public hearing and makes recommendations to the governor. The piece also notes:
Maine’s constitution grants governors the power to pardon or commute the sentences of any individual except those who have been impeached from office or for other specific reasons, such a conviction of operating under the influence. In many cases, pardons are granted to individuals who committed non-violent crimes in their late-teens or early-20s and have avoided trouble with the law since. These might include an 18- or 19-year-old convicted of burglary or drug offenses who are still living with the stigma and legal consequences of being a convicted felon.
The report also says Baldacci granted pardons to 51 of 193 applicants in 2010 — "more than in any other year of his administration." Throughout his administration, he has pardoned an average of 17 people a year. His predecessor, Angus King, appears to have granted more than 130 pardons (across 8 years). Gov. Joseph Brennan granted about 300 (across 8 years). See full story here.

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