Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pardon Watch

Many people are glued to the news watching to see who will receive the holiday pardons, and the commutations of sentences too, as President Bush leaves office.  Many have their hopes up that their names will appear on the list.  Will it be names that have appeared in the news like: Conrad Black, former Governor Ryan, Michael Milken, Bernie Ebbers,  or Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham? 

President Bush should not be ashamed to grant pardons and commute sentences as he leaves office.  But which cases deserve this treatment is the question. Picking out friends and political cronies is just plain wrong.

Good candidates for a reduction of sentence are those who received harsher sentences because they were victims of a public cry for retribution in a time when people were reacting to extraordinary surrounding events.  CEOs who received long prison sentences when the business took a downturn, those receiving astronomically high sentences in the mortgage fraud crisis, John Walker Lindh (one has to wonder what tactics were used when he was brought to the US), and others may fit this category as deserving of a reduction in sentence.  But equally persuasive are those who have no constituency and remain in prison because of sentencing guidelines that did not account for their motive, or failed to notice that they received no benefit. The women who were carrying drugs out of a misguided love for someone who was using them as a mule, are among the cases that need examination.

It may be easy for President Bush to say, I don't need this hassle, and just leave without pardoning folks.  But, hopefully, he will use his power wisely to correct injustices that remain on the books.

Check out this interview with Margy Love in the National L.J., See Marcia Coyle, A leading legal authority on pardons talks about the need for transparency — and how to get to the top of the list


Addendum, Yahoo News (Reuters) Martha Graybow & Randall Mikkelsen, Ex-WorldCom chief Ebbers seeks clemency from Bush

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