Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Louisiana: PardonPower to the "Ringside"

Later this morning, 10:00 Central Standard to be exact, I will be visiting with Jeff Crouere who has a radio talk show entitled "Ringside Politics" on WGSO (990AM, New Orleans). Interested persons can listen to the broadcast on their computers by going here.

It was Jeff who actually caught PardonPower's attention when he reported on the latest news regarding the clemency application of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards (see post here). I sent an e-mail to Jeff and asked if he would be interested in chatting about pardons on his program. A few days later, the offer was graciously extended. Feel free to listen in, call (985-661-2929 or 504-556-9696) or comment afterward. It should be interesting to share information with listeners and hear the views of the host and persons from that area of the country regarding Edwards and pardons in general.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Report: Bush to Pardon Edwin Edwards Soon?

Jeff Crouere of reports "sources close to the Bush White House are reporting this morning that the President is considering commuting the sentence of former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards before his term ends on January 20. In fact, a decision may be made in the next few days." The 82-year old Edwards is serving a 10-year sentence, begun in October of 2002. His clemency application is supported by former Louisiana Governor Dave Treen and former U.S. Senators John Breaux and J. Bennett Johnston. See story here.

As the White House is under considerable scrutiny with respect to the possible use of the pardon power in the remaining days of the term, the pardon of a former Democratic governor could be a moderately savvy PR move on the part of the president. Indeed, pardoning several other Democratic officials might take significant wind out of the sails of partisan critics who might not feel so compelled to remind the media and the general public of previous scandals and convictions. See others on our Pardon Watch List here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Watch List: Hope for Edwards?

The Advocate and WBRZ news report that the supporters of the imprisoned former Governor of Louisianna, Edwin Edwards, have "hope" that he will be released over the next few months, or at least see President Bush as his "best chance" for a pardon or commutation of sentence. The 82-year old Edwards actually has three years remaining on his 10-year sentence. Former Louisiana Eastern District federal prosecutor Harry Rosenberg incorrectly states, “Most of the pardons and commutations happen as the president exits office.” In fact, "most" pardons and commutations are granted during years 1 through 3 of the term. It just happens that a higher number tend to be granted in the fourth year, as opposed to any other single year. Former Gov. Dave Treen (R) says he contacts the White House special counsel's office on a regular basis and can report that the application is “under advisement.” We now also know that the Department of Justice has contacted U.S. Attorney Jim Letten in New Orleans (the lead prosecutor) and asked for information and a recommendation. See story here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Watch List: Edwards Has Friends in High Places

WAFB-9 reports here that former Governor Edwin Edwards is celebrating his 81st birthday in prison and counting down the months "critical to his future." The report notes George H. W. Bush is a "good friend" of Edwards and that the former president has also written a recommendation to a "pardon board" on behalf of Edwards. Not sure where that board is, but it is still a fun human interest story :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Louisiana: A Deal for No Pardon?

In 2006, Roy Roberts pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder after a stabbing attack on the teenage daughters of his girlfriend. Now, Roberst has signed a plea deal which is said to require that he spend the rest of his life in prison. State District Judge Tony Marabella says the plea agreement (exchanged for a death sentence) prohibits Roberts from ever applying for parole, a commutation of his sentence, or a pardon from a governor. In addition, Roberts agreed to never try to make any money by selling books or profit from the case. See full story here.

EDITOR: While I cannot speak with expert knowledge of the laws of the State of Louisiana, it seems there are some things worth exploring in this case. The plea agreement (as described) does not allow Roberts to apply for a pardon. But what if a governor 30 years down the road decides a pardon is merited? Is the plea agreement an attempt to limit that governor's power? Does the Constitution of the State of Louisiana allow that? In one famous case, a president commuted the death sentence of an individual to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But a later president came along and commuted the sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Is this scenario an option for Roberts?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Louisiana: Request

The chairman of Louisiana's House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Cedric Richmond has announced that his committee will hold hearings on what is known as the "Angola Three" case and he is calling on Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) to pardon the men involved. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich, the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, has also recently met with two of the three who remain in prison. The men - Robert King, Herman "Hooks" Wallace and Albert Woodfox - say they are victims of cruel and unusual punishment because of the time they spent in solitary confinement. A lawsuit is also pending in federal court. Wallace and Woodfox also say they were wrongfully convicted in a guard's death. King's conviction for killing another inmate was overturned, and he was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary confinement. See article here. See additional background on the case here and here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Louisiana: Lament Over Possible Testimony

The Party for Socialism and Liberation laments the fact that there might be a prosecutorial brakthrough (as the result of a plea bargain) in the case of the so-called "Jena 6." The Party web site notes:

[One] of the Six, Mychal Bell, has been sentenced to 18 months for fighting with a white student. Four more are facing second-degree battery charges and another is facing juvenile charges ... Bell had faced at least 22 years, and the others faced attempted murder charges. Here in New York City, the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) collected over 6,000 signatures demanding the charges be dropped and that the prosecutor of the Jena 6 case be fired. Activists from other organizations conducted similar campaigns across the country, collecting tens of thousands of signatures and holding protests to coincide with the Six’s court dates. ANSWER organized a national day of action to defend the Six, with protests in more than 13 cities on Nov. 7. Responding to the groundswell of pressure, on Dec. 24, the Congressional Black Caucus demanded that outgoing Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco pardon the Six. She refused ... As part of his plea bargain, Bell reportedly has offered to testify against the other five, which we very much hope he does not do.
See full post here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Watch List: Edwin Edwards

According to this report, former Louisiana Governor Dave Treen (R) says former Louisana Governor Edwin Edwards (R) has served enough time in federal prison (see our Pardon Watch List). Edwards, who used to be Treen's bitter political rival, has now served half of his ten-year sentence. Says Treen, "I want the man out of prison ... He got a ten year sentence which is way too harsh." Treen also predicts Edwards could be out as early as this summer, but the report notes that he made a similar prediction a year ago. Even more interesting is the fact that Treen now says that George H.W. Bush called him to assist the cause of winning early release for Edwards. Treen claims Bush Sr. will be writing a letter to his son regarding the request.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Louisiana Report

According to this report, the Louisiana state Board of Pardons received 4,240 applications for clemency during Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s four years in office (2004-2007). Of that number, only 849 were granted a hearing. The Board then denied 566 of the applications and 92 were held over for further consideration. As a result, a total of 331 applications were granted favorable recommendations and passed to Blanco. The Governor granted clemency for 285 applicants, denied 32 others and took no action on 14 applications. None of Blanco's actions involved high profile cases. Most were for inmates convicted of drug offenses. "She took very deliberate and thorough consideration of every one that came over here," said Terry Ryder, Blanco's executive council. This story is also covered here.

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