Lately outgoing politicians, especially governors and the president of the United States, are handing out pardons and commutations like candy on Halloween — and the longstanding practice should come to an end.
... The constitution gives the president of the United States the power to pardon or commute a sentence, state governors have similar power too. We think it’s important to have the power to pardon and commute sentences, but don’t like how or when politicians do it. For decades, politicians have mostly used their pardon powers when leaving office. In other words, with one foot out the door, a president or governor signs hundreds of pardons and commutations.
... Government works best when checks and balances are in place, but there’s nobody to balance out the pardon process. With no checks in place, politicians on the way out the door, have made some seemingly bad decisions.
... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the last weeks of his term, has pardoned 101 people
... It seems Governor Cuomo is giving Judith Clark a chance at parole. Clark, who was part of a radical group who robbed an armored truck in Maryland. Two police officers and a security officer died as a result of the robbery, and Clark was the getaway driver.
... This type of last-minute, “one foot out the door” action needs to be stopped. While the power to give pardons should remain in case of unique circumstances, a system of checks and balances needs to be put in place.
... The current pardon system is so out of whack, the last days of a president’s term are almost like a game show. Everyone’s on watch to see who’s going to get the big prize.
No doubt some people deserve to be pardoned, but not when politicians are walking out the door.See full editorial here.