Monday, December 19, 2011

Times on Pardons: Room for Debate

The Room for Debate section of the New York Times is featuring 4 short essays on the pardon power by
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Laura W. Murphy, Jeffrey Crouch, and Louis Fisher. The best thing, of course, is to take the time to read each one (linked with the name of each author. But here are some short takes: Ehrlich says the clemency power is not being taken seriously and points to what he calls the "Willie Horton Effect." Murphy says commutations should be granted more frequently, but see larger systematic problems in our system of criminal justice which should also be addressed. Crouch argues the federal clemency process cannot be deemed "fair" as applicants do not have anything like a "realistic" chance of forgiveness. Fisher calls on the Office of the Pardon Attorney to rethink how it can better perform its duties. See full section here.

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