Friday, April 20, 2012

Steve Chanenson on Strategic Clemency

Steven Chanenson of Villanova Law School is presenting on how a strategic president exercise clemency. He is speaking at St. Thomas School of Law's symposium on Commutations of Sentence. His point of departure is Gerald Ford's post Vietnam clemency board, which processed some 21,000 clemency applications. The board however, attempted to regularize, systematize the clemency process. They gave advice on a regularized basis. Three simple strategies might be of benefit to presidents today: Use the pardon power to guide criminal justice policy in a systematic way. The president should also use it regularly, but sparingly. If the criminal justice system is reformed, the demand for clemency may be reduced. The president should strive to create a criminal justice environment where clemency is rare. Further sentencing reform is more desirable than more pardons.

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