Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Times to Gov. Brown: Commute!

Noting that the pardon power is "an essential means of justice, allowing a governor to right what the law got wrong," the New York Times is calling on California Governor Jerry Brown of California to commute the sentence of Shirley Ree Smith. Smith was convicted of killing (by shaking) her grandson and has served 10 years of a 15-years-to-life sentence.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the conviction in 2006 finding "no demonstrable support” for it (as there no physical or "other" evidence of the severe bleeding or swelling. The court concluded “there has very likely been a miscarriage of justice in this case.”

Five years later, however, the Supreme Court overruled the Ninth Circuit. The effect of the decision is that Smith must complete her sentence ... unless it is commuted. Says the Times:
Ms. Smith has already served 10 years for a crime she likely did not commit. She should not now be made a victim of the Supreme Court’s pique. 
See full Times article here.

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