Thursday, January 12, 2017

Missouri: Post-Dispatch is Not Impressed

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that "one of former Gov. Jay Nixon’s final official acts" was to grant 16 pardons.  The Post Dispatch says, "It was the right thing to do, but not a particularly courageous move by Nixon."
A riskier but justified call would have been to commute the sentences of 15 women who were victims of severe domestic abuse and received exceptionally harsh sentences. St. Louis University’s Legal Clinics, the Community Coalition for Clemency, and local clergy members requested clemency for the women in November. Several of the women are serving life terms. Some have spent more than 30 years in prison. Eleven are 60 or older; the oldest is 74. Many of the women have been active in prison social outreach programs, and coalition members, including former Gov. Bob Holden and retired Missouri Appeals Court Judge James R. Dowd, said the women pose no threat to society. Why not release them to live out the rest of their days with family and friends, instead of spending about $21,000 of taxpayer revenue annually to keep each of them in jail? 
The Post-Dispatch also notes the Governor refused to pardon Alvis Williams:
... despite a request from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. Williams drew an 80-year sentence in 1994 for second-degree burglary and stealing. The maximum sentence for conviction on those charges today would be seven years. 
Nixon also "left in prison" a man (supported by The Midwest Innocence Project) who is serving two life sentences for a double murder "that no physical evidence links him to and that someone else has confessed to committing." See full editorial here.

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