Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Commentary on Obama's Commutation Plan

John Malcolm
John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation - with whom we are generally unfamiliar - steps up to the plate with Federal New Radio and shares his own views of President Obama's plan to commute hundreds, possibly thousands, of commutations of sentence.

The interview fails to note that, in recent years, the Department of Justice has been inundated with record numbers of applications for commutations of sentence. Malcolm says he is "reluctant" re the "prudence" of the President reforming the clemency process, even though he recognizes there are "sentencing injustices" in the world.

Amazingly, Malcolm takes the bait - offered by the interviewer - and says a "Willie Horton" is "almost inevitable." Indeed, Malcolm is "sure" that there will be "violent incidents."

Along the way, Malcolm seems to confuse federal and state processes by trying to explain the distinction between "pardons" and "clemency" (we assume he means "commutations").

In listing "potential reasons" for the President's behavior, Malcolm's imagination is limited 1) there may be an attempt to rally the President's "political base" and 2) federal prisons are clearly over-crowded.

When all is said and done, Malcolm's most useful insight seems to be that we will have to wait and see what the President will do. See (listen to) the Federal News Radio interview here.

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