Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sen. Jack Martins: All Thunder and No Lightning

Sen. Jack Martins
New York State Senator Jack Martins (R-7th District) claims that he "generally" tries to "steer clear of Washington D.C. politics" because it is a "strenuous enough task" for him to work on the issues that directly impact his constituents. In a recent "letter" re federal executive clemency, he demonstrates that, in his own case, it is a wise policy indeed.

Martins extravagantly claims President Obama's "pardons go to the undeserving." Further into the piece, he seems to understand that pardons and commutations of sentence are not the same thing, but, to a politician with a big hammer, everything is nails.

Without naming anyone, or presenting any data, Martins claims that he "checked the backgrounds" of the individuals whose sentences were recently commuted by the President. Without naming anyone, or presenting any data, he found "they had extensive rap sheets, peppered with former arrests" and were not "decent fellows." Without naming anyone, or presenting any data, he concluded they were "mostly" career criminals and "almost all" had been charged with numerous crimes simultaneously. Sometimes it is difficult to discern the difference between an honest, rigorous investigation, and the desire to write a kind of Hallmark greeting card from Hell.

Martins found a retired DEA agent involved in "some" of the cases (What? 1? 2?) who was critical of the President's decisions. One wonders how he could not find what the Office of the Pardon Attorney had to say, or the Deputy Attorney General. What did the sentencing judges say? I mean Martins may want everyone he despises in prison for life, regardless of such nuances like whether or not the offenses for which they were convicted were violent, or non-violent, but I just can't think of a single reason in this world why Martins' opinion should weigh one ounce more than the opinions of the judges who are more familiar with the cases then he will ever be.

Amazingly, Martins expresses his opinion on this topic, seemingly oblivious that both parties in both chambers of Congress has turned their backs on the old sentencing laws. The consensus was that those laws were ineffective, if not patently unfair. We wonder what Martins thinks. Was the old 100-1 sentencing disparity effective? fair? Is the war on drugs working? Are life-time sentences appropriate for non-violent offenses? What about rehabilitation? Does Martins think that ever happens? Was there any evidence of that? Martins has probably written more on this topic without addressing any of the basic, underlying substantive issues than anyone in recent memory.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbingly, Martins, desperately attempts to attach formal, legal responsibility for violence (something the judges and juries did not do) to anyone convicted of a drug offense. Conservatives should get on their knees every day of their lives and thank God Almighty that the legal system does not define "violence" in an indirect, accordion-like manner that suits the emotional whims of politicians like Martins. In a recitation of the potential ills accompanying drugs (which no one would deny), he says very little that could not be matched - with equally horrible scenarios - related to alcohol, cigarettes, automobiles, cell phones ... not to mention guns.

Mr. Martins, no need to burn down the house to roast the pig. See full train wreck here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most politicians are terrified of the political back lash of being pro-pardon or pro-commutation. The average person doesn't know the difference between the two.

Because the issue comes with so much political heat, many stay away from it. Even when erroneous information is spoken or reported, rarely is it corrected. It's just not an issue that most people care about, which is sad.

All federal felony convictions are life sentences of removal of rights. Voting rights, gun rights, travel restrictions, & disqualification of many careers. This is regardless of whether or not we are talking about drug offenses, violence, fraud, or any number of white collar crimes. The ONLY way to restore these rights from a federal conviction, is a Presidential Pardon. Many people err in their youth, & go on to have very productive lives free of crime, with many contributions to society. Sadly, they can't vote in most states, they can't defend themselves, or their homes, they can't travel to some countries, they can't hold numerous jobs, regardless of their qualifications, or how many years/decades since their conviction.

The pardon power, is needed more than most realize. It's unfortunate that, in recent decades it has become so politically evil. Many people, many families, & society as a whole, all benefits from a pardon power used more freely.


Anonymous said...

How true!

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