Friday, June 22, 2012

"No" to Siegelman!

The Alabama Press-Register says that, "if Gov. Don Siegelman goes back to prison and for how long should be decided by a judge, not President Barack Obama." Which is to say, Obama should not use the pardon power on Siegelman's behalf.

Siegelman was convicted of giving a former HealthSouth chief executive a seat on a health care regulatory board in exchange for a $500,000 donation. He served about nine months of a sentence of seven years and four months before being released while he appealed the conviction. Two charges have been thrown out, reducing the original sentence by about a year. Now there will be a  resentencing hearing.

But the Press-Register say:
If President Obama were to pardon Mr. Siegelman, he would be sending several bad messages to Americans. The president would be disregarding the verdict of a jury who sat through weeks of testimony and deliberated extensively before finding Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy guilty. A trial by a jury of one’s peers is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system, and the separation of powers among the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government is part of the foundation of this country. Likewise, the president would be overriding the judge, who is best qualified to decide how much more time Mr. Siegelman should have to serve. A pardon for Mr. Siegelman would be purely political, telling Americans that political party affiliation and political influence outweigh criminal conduct ... the justice system is supposed to be impartial and blind as to who the defendant is. President Obama should leave this one alone and let the justice system do its work. 
See editorial here.

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