Recently in Clemency Category
This provision is clearly intended to allow the Governor to restore voting rights, among other rights, upon an individualized determination that the person has actually "gone straight." Is it limited to that? Former Governor Tim Kaine (D) thought so.
Or does it empower a governor to effectively repeal the disqualification provision by entering a sweeping restoration of voting rights to all felons? Present Governor Terry McAuliffe (also D) thinks so. The WSJ has this editorial.
Why does Governor McAuliffe want more criminals to vote, whether they are rehabilitated or not? Simple. Criminals perceive -- correctly -- that on the whole Democrats are more likely to favor their interests as opposed to the interests of law-abiding people. That tendency has been somewhat less pronounced in recent years than it was in earlier years, but the difference is coming back, as noted Bill's and my posts of Monday.
Hence, criminals -- especially those who have not gone straight -- will vote for the Democratic Party in greater proportion than law-abiding people do, and in a close election the criminal vote may tip the scale. After 2000, the Florida recount, and all that, we must recognized that such matters could have serious consequences.
The editorial notes that the Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments on the question Tuesday.
After seven years in office, Mr. Obama has issued a total of 184 commutations and 66 pardons -- more grants, as the White House wasted no time in pointing out, than the last six presidents combined....By the administration's own estimates, [however], as many as 10,000 people could be released under the new criteria, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told The Washington Post this month. So why is Mr. Obama continuing to make grants in the single or double digits?
On Friday, December 18, President Obama, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, ordered the early release of another 91 convicted drug traffickers from fully lawful sentences their criminal behavior had earned. This brings to approximately 150 the number of traffickers given early release through executive clemency in just the last 14 months.When it announced the clemency project, the Administration committed to granting clemency only if six specific criteria were met, including that the defendant was a non-violent, low-level offender, did not have a significant criminal history, and had no history of violence. Sadly, that has not been the case.In fact, many of the drug traffickers being released had armed themselves (one with 40 firearms); many were leaders or supervisors in their crimes (one was the lead defendant in a 69 day trial); many had multiple prior felony convictions (one had 8 prior felony drug trafficking convictions); and the vast majority were involved in conspiracies to distribute large quantities of dangerous drugs, often hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of methamphetamine or cocaine.Significantly, these clemency releases are in addition to the 46,000 drug traffickers who are being released through retroactive softer sentences the White House and the Justice Department sought from the U. S. Sentencing Commission. As has been widely reported, 6,000 to 8,000 of these convicted drug traffickers were released early last month, and another 8,500 will be released in the next ten months.No one is claiming these released traffickers are innocent, nor that the drugs they trafficked are harmless. No one is claiming that some -- probably most -- won't do it again. In fact, this class of drug offenders deals in potentially lethal drugs and has a high rate of recidivism (up to 77% according to a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics). And no one can provide certainty that addicts - the young, the old, the weak and the vulnerable - will not die as a result of these releases.
A Washington state prisoner mistakenly released early because of a computer error has been charged with killing his girlfriend in a car crash when he should have been behind bars, officials said Monday.
The revelation comes a week after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a software coding error led as many as 3,200 offenders to be wrongly released since 2002. He has ordered a review of prisoner releases ahead of a broad fix to the software problem, which is expected early next month.
One of those freed was Robert Jackson, 38, who walked out of prison Aug. 10, four months too soon. He had been convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon and should have been released Dec. 6.
During that time, he fled from a Nov. 11 wreck in Bellevue that killed his girlfriend Lindsay Hill, 35, who was riding in the car he was driving, according to prosecutors and Department of Corrections officials.
Jackson has been charged with vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run and is being held in jail on $2 million bail, prosecutors said.
He was speeding and impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, prosecutors said.
Gosh, what a surprise that a previously convicted felon would flout the law again!
About 6,000 drug offenders will be released from federal custody over the next few days, but some legal experts warn that the government has done too little to help many of them successfully reintegrate into society.
Given Obama's disregard for enforcing laws he dislikes and his aggressive desire to transform the country and dismantle law enforcement, this development [much greater use of clemency than in recent decades] should put goose bumps on anyone concerned with the rule of law, aka, most Americans outside of public policy circles. If Obama is this alacritous to sign a get-out-of-jail free card with 18 months left to his presidency, it's clear that this is the tip of the iceberg.
The 46 sentence reductions [Obama granted today] are the most presidential commutations in a single day since at least the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, according to the White House. Overall, Obama has commuted sentences of 89 people, surpassing the combined number of commutations granted by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
They represent a sliver of all those seeking clemency: Justice Department statistics show that roughly 2,100 commutation petitions have been received so far this fiscal year, and about 7,900 are pending.
White House counsel Neil Eggleston predicted the president would issue even more commutations before leaving office, but added that "clemency alone will not fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies."
The president this week is devoting considerable attention to criminal justice. In addition to his speech Tuesday [to the NAACP Convention] in Philadelphia, he is to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison when he goes to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City on Thursday. He'll meet with both law enforcement officials and inmates.
Some might think that "overly punitive sentencing policies" had something to do with the dramatic drop in crime in the last quarter century, but that goes unmentioned in the story and unseen in the President's outlook.
We are compelled to conclude that, while Schwarzenegger's conduct could be seen as deserving of censure and grossly unjust, it was not illegal. Marsy's Law, despite its obviously expansive protection of victims' rights does not restrict the executive's clemency powers under California Constitution, article V, section 8, subdivision (a) or the clemency statutes, and we must affirm the judgment. Our holding is limited to subdivision (a) executive clemency and does not apply to the Governor's power under subdivision (b) of the same constitutional provision to reverse or modify a parole decision of the Board of Parole Hearings "on the basis of the same factors" the board is required to consider.
[I]t could represent the crest of a new wave of commutations that could come in Obama's last two years in office. Last year, the Justice Department announced a new clemency initiative to try to encourage more low-level drug offenders to apply to have their sentences reduced. That resulted in a record 6,561 applications in the last fiscal year...
Obama wrote each of the 22 Tuesday, saying they had demonstrated the potential to turn their lives around...."Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will encounter many who doubt people with criminal records can change," Obama wrote. "I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong."
Question: Did Obama ever write a warm, personal note to the soldiers who risked life and limb trying to recover Bowe Bergdahl?