Saturday, December 6, 2014

Massachusetts: Wahlberg's Clemency Petition and "Special Treatment"

Mark Wahlberg
Readers can view a reasonably redacted version of Mark Wahlberg's petition for pardon for crimes he committed in 1988, at the age of 16. Simply click here to open a .pdf file.

Apparently there are some that are already barking about the possibility that Wahlberg's pardon would be evidence of distasteful celebrity "special treatment."

As well they should. But there are at least two things worth nothing in response to such concerns:

1. There is no good reason in this world to deny an individual - who happens to be a celebrity - just and fair treatment in the eyes of the law. Wahlberg served his time and has, apparently, been a law abiding citizen for almost three decades. He most certainly has as much of a right to argue his case for penitence and rehabilitation as anyone else on this planet.

2. Wahlberg's pardon, should it arrive on the scene, would only appear awkwardly "special" because governors of the State of Massachusetts (both Democrat and Republican) have been so especially wretched in their neglect of their constitutional duty to participate in the criminal justice system as executives in a system of separation of powers and checks and balances. A Wahlberg pardon, in a pile of 10 would indeed look pretty ugly. In a pile of 300, not so much. In a pile of 300, regularly spread over the course of an eight-year term (like the current Governor's), even better. But, thanks to the neglect of the current Governor, the options are not very favorable, for Wahlberg or the appearance of fairness and impartiality.

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