Monday, April 21, 2014

Hope? Change? Mercy, at Last?

Liz Goodwin has an interesting piece at Yahoo News, highlighting the case of one Barbara Scrivner, serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison for "selling a few ounces of methamphetamine." The sentence was the consequence of a "mandatory minimum" which brought complaint even from her sentencing judge. But, Goodwin reports,
A senior administration official tells Yahoo News the president could grant clemency to "hundreds, perhaps thousands" of people locked up for nonviolent drug crimes by the time he leaves office 
Of equal interest, she notes:
The scope of the new clemency initiative is so large that administration officials are preparing a series of personnel and process changes to help them manage the influx of petitions they expect Obama to approve. Among the changes is reforming the recently censured office within the Justice Department responsible for processing pardon petitions. Yahoo News has learned that the pardon attorney, Ronald Rodgers, who was criticized in a 2012 Internal watchdog report for mishandling a high-profile clemency petition, is likely to step down as part of that overhaul. Additional procedures for handling large numbers of clemency petitions could be announced as soon as this week, a senior administration official said, though it could take longer. 
Indeed, the piece says "former and current administration officials" blame the Office of the Pardon Attorney for "recommending that the president deny nearly every single petition for a pardon or a reduced sentence." A staff member in that Office, Sam Morison, wrote "to a West Wing attorney":
 "I must bring to your attention the near total collapse of the pardon advisory process." See full story here.

See our own, additional commentary on this topic, here.


John Thacker said...

I don't want to get my hopes up too early or too much, but this would please me very much.

Allison Williams said...

This is seriously going to be a huge influx in petitions.

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