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Is a Legalized Jailbreak for Drug Pushers on the Way?

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There has been a great deal of grousing among defense lawyers about how the power of presidential clemency has been all but ignored by Obama and his most recent predecessors. Is all the talk a prelude to a mass pardon?

I don't know, of course, but I don't think it's a coincidence that (1) the so-called Smarter Sentencing Act is only very slowly making its way through Congress, (2) the President tells New Yorker Magazine that we've gone overboard in sentences for drug offenses, and (3) in his SOTU address, the President pretty directly said that he'll robustly use his executive powers, with Congress or without.

Doug Berman over at Sentencing Law & Policy has some interesting observations about the possibility of many, many more pardons.  See, e.g., his posts here, here and here.

Obama has been increasingly aggressive in his second and last term, so no one should be surprised if he's aggressive in the use of his clemency power, too.  Still, I think we can be reasonably sure we won't see a whole lot of it until November 5.

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