Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Notable Response to OPA Webpage

We note with interest that the webpage for the Office of the Pardon Attorney (Department of Justice) now provides a list of names of persons who were denied clemency (here). One of our readers has this view of the new practice:
At the behest of someone, for whatever reason, the Office of the Pardon Attorney has recently started publishing clemency denials. It even retroactively went back and published every denial issued during the Obama administration, back to 2010.  
Consider this situation: you are someone who, long ago, was sentenced to probation and a fine for a relatively insignificant Federal regulatory offense. You apply for clemency. For whatever reason you aren't granted the capricious miracle that is a "presidential pardon", that "denial" becomes a matter of very high profile public record (and in turn, an inexorable part of your Google footprint).  
The removal of discretion from the pardon process has introduced a meaningful chilling effect on applicants, whereby the people most deserving of one (people who've gone on to rebuild their lives) are now strongly dis-incentivized from applying for fear of a routine pardon denial dominating their Google footprint and possibly harming the life they've gone on to build.  
More 'government records infotainment that we naively mismanage.
Some food for thought indeed.

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