Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Osler: A Good Start, But ...

Prof. Mark Osler
Mark Osler is a former federal prosecutor and, currently, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minnesota.He now has an editorial at MSNBC entitled "Obama's Pardons, a Good Start, But Not Enough." Osler calls President Obama's recent grants (13 pardons and 8 commutations of sentence) "important, principled, and well-chosen." But, he adds that they "should be the start of his actions, not the end."

Osler notes the "over-incarceration" resulting from the War on Drugs "has been so extensive, so racially disparate, and so inefficient at addressing any actual problem that the eight commutations issued last week barely made a mark. They represent the first lifeboat off a sinking ship." He then encourages the President to "follow President Ford’s example and establish a special, temporary board outside of the Department of Justice to expedite these cases." The current system for evaluating clemency requests "has not worked for the last several presidents" because the process is "lodged firmly within the Department of Justice," am institution "well suited to the task." See full editorial here.

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