Thursday, January 5, 2017

Massachusetts: Governor Meets Council

It is reported that Governor Charlie Baker recently made "a rare appearance" at a meeting of the so-called Governor’s Council. Some councilors asked him if he planned to recommend any pardons or commutations and argued some convicted criminals a "second chance." Baker is reported to have responded, "Not today."

Councilor Terrence Kennedy has particular interest in the topic. He told a local news station it is difficult for convicts to get their lives back on track after they’re released from prison and clemency could help many former inmates find a job. Kennedy also notes, “It’s been many, many years since they’ve been done on a regular basis.”

Councilor Marilyn Devaney says she hopes Baker will exercise the pardon power. She claims the councilors have "drawers and drawers" full of pardon and commutation materials (including materials associated with applicants who have since died). She says the council had received "not enough" pardon recommendations during her 18-year tenure.

Without any supporting evidence, a local news station reports:
Pardons and commutations are controversial. That’s why governors typically wait until the end of their term to make these recommendations. 
... which is utter nonsense. Hundreds, if not thousands, are granted every year in the United States, at the state and federal level. Very few have any degree of controversy, or even potential for controversy. See story here. And here.

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