Saturday, March 9, 2013

New York: Calling Gov. Cuomo!

At the Journal News (new York), Suzanne Kessler, Virginia Casper and Michelle Fine have written an editorial calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo not to neglect a topic which "impacts, and is impacted by, almost every topic he did discuss" - incarcerations. The authors note that the Governor could "make a difference" by:
bringing common sense to bear on the problem of women and men serving long sentences — people who could be returned to their communities to be positive role models for young people in their communities and help solve the very problems he has identified.  Human beings make mistakes, but so does the criminal justice system. In particular, some prisoners languish in prison decades after it makes sense to keep them there. This is one reason that governors in many states, including New York, have the absolute power to grant clemency. 
As such, Cuomo should circumstanced when "rehabilitation has been accomplished, remorse expressed, and justice served."  Instead, he has "hit a new low, granting not a single clemency in the two years since taking office."

The piece also cites Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, who has decried the "paltry use" of the pardon power. Says Judge Jacobs:
“What a shame that it should lie neglected, or be put to trivial uses, when it is the easiest way to improve law and justice decisively and at one stroke.” 
The authors argue that a politician "with Gov. Cuomo’s political credibility and capital" should "demonstrate the strength of his leadership," and be able to "see beyond imagined risks." See story here.

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