Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wisconsin: "Making A Murderer"

The buzz is all about "Making a Murderer." Admittedly, we have not seen it. But, we have a very strong sense that the production convinces many viewers that Steven Avery was not guilty of the murder of a 25-year old female photographer in the State of Wisconsin, in 2005, or - at the very least - he received nothing like due process of law on the way to his conviction and life sentence.

The logical reaction? A call for mercy! Indeed, a petition for Avery's pardon - originally addressed to President Obama - now sits at Change.org (see / sign it here).

It would be shame to miss what this developing story has shown us already!

First, It shows that the news media's constant reference to the President's pardon power as "kingly" and as something that was developed in Great Britain has an impact. If Obama is a king, or very much like a king, then why can't he pardon Avery? The answer, of course, is that the pardon power, here, today, in America, is a very logical part of a system of separation of powers and checks and balances, nested in a federal system. The President, very much unlike the King of England circa 1400, is constitutionally limited to pardons for federal crimes (except in cases of impeachment) and in the District of Columbia. He cannot pardon state offenses.

Second, Avery's case makes even more plain how asinine Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's no-pardons-in-any-circumstance "policy" is. To be sure, other governors employ the same policy, functionally, but he (Walker) is the only one who brays about it openly. Walker will not mind his constitutional duty to pardon in any single instance - he says - because it would require him (to be fair) to consider other applications, potentially by equally deserving applicants. OMG! Walker's position is: God forbid anything like a spurt of justice would occur in Wisconsin. Not on Walker's watch!

We do not feel the need to take a position on Avery's innocence or guilt, but the fact that such details are trifling and irrelevant to Gov. Scott Walker is well worth noting ... over and over and over ...

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