Saturday, February 9, 2013

T. Roosevelt and the Pardon Power

Readers are invited to read/download a paper (.pdf file) that the Editor of this blog wrote and presented at the at the Theodore Roosevelt: Life, Times and Legacy international conference, Shreveport, Louisiana (October 2012). The specific title is "Theodore Roosevelt and the Pardon Power."

Roosevelt buffs will probably find pages 11-21 interesting because they deal with notable acts of clemency. Included in this section are: a headless corpse, a movie star, the Lone Ranger, a few ax murders, a child rapist, Wyatt Erp, Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, "Hanging" Judge Isaac Parker, and a guy who faked a sickness to get a pardon, then outlived the president who pardoned him!

Students of the pardon power will find pages 21-5 of interest. Although Roosevelt was president over a hundred years ago, the circumstances in which he exercised clemency were remarkably similar to the clemency environment today. The difference is in the manner in which Roosevelt responded to those circumstances.

When faced with an increasing prison population, overly rigid and harsh sentences and an increase in clemency applications, Roosevelt was generous with the pardon power and exercised it regularly, on a monthly bases, all throughout his presidency. He also exercise the power broadly, in pardons, commutations of sentence, respites and a general amnesty.

In addition, Roosevelt was a strong advocate of the creation and use of clemency boards, a model that is increasingly seen by observers of recent administrations as an excellent strategy for reforming the federal executive clemency process. This paper can be read/downloaded at (here).

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