Monday, November 21, 2011

Ehrlich to Obama

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was the Republican governor of Maryland from 2003-2007 and granted 249 pardons and commutations of sentence. He now complains (in the Baltimore Sun) that President Obama (who has granted 17 pardons) has "largely neglected" a "presidential tradition: pardoning human beings." Ehrlich calls clemency power "a highly respected responsibility and duty of the office" which aims to "balance the scales of justice, when appropriate." In addition, he says,"There are too many positive considerations in favor of clemency to neglect it:
In some cases, federal mandatory sentences have grown too harsh. Convictions keep people out of jobs. Our justice system is imperfect; prosecutors and police make mistakes. Prisoners and ex-offenders can and do turn their lives around; many deserve a clean slate. The pardon power is the remedy when the justice system misfires — but it only works if executives are willing to use it.
Ehrlich says that, "it seems impossible that no applicants have merited a commutation, especially when more than 75,000 federal prisoners are serving extended mandatory minimum sentences, mostly for drug offenses."
We agree. See full story here.

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