Monday, May 5, 2014

Missouri: Merciless Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Gov. Jay Nixon "has been a very stingy man when it comes to using his executive power on acts of mercy." More specifically, Nixon has commuted one prison sentence in his more than five years as governor, and that was in 2011. Meanwhile he has denied 218 petitions for clemency and 2,487 are awaiting his action.

The Post-Dispatch calls this a "pitiful lack of mercy compared to previous Missouri governors and most other governors in the nation."

There followed this interesting anecdote:
 Cornealious “Mike” Anderson ... was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2000 for an armed robbery the previous year in St. Charles County. Due to a clerical error, he was never sent to jail. Instead, Mr. Anderson went on to lead a life that by all accounts has been honorable. He never tried to hide from the law. Appeals in his case went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. He has a drivers license with his current address, paid his taxes regularly, got business licenses and construction permits. He married, became a carpenter and fathered four children. And then last summer, the Missouri Department of Corrections noticed when it came time for Mr. Anderson to be released from prison that he had never been there. In July 2013 he was arrested and is currently in jail. 
The Post-Dispatch argues "there is no public good to be served by punishing Mr. Anderson" and it will only "cost the state money, deprive a family of its husband and father and cripple Mr. Anderson’s life once he leaves prison, all because the state failed to do its job." It then adds:
... Mr. Nixon’s “decisions reek of prioritizing politics over justice.” We also said we don’t know his motive for failing to use one of the most powerful tools at his disposal — a decision that in many cases can mean life or death. The problem remains that in Missouri, secrecy surrounds the process of clemency. There is a lack of transparency required that allows Mr. Nixon to ignore pardons or grant them with nobody being any the wiser. That’s wrong. People on death row certainly deserve an open airing of their cases. So do people serving serious time in prison. The clemency process is a crucial element of the criminal justice system and should be dealt with more openly. 
See story here.

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online