Criticism Continues of Bush's Paltry Pardon Record

The Washington Post keeps the story alive of Bush's grinch-like pardons alive. Quoted today is Law Prof Doug Berman, who is also the author of the awesome Blakely blog, Sentencing Law and Policy.

"He continues not to view his role as chief executive as one where he should temper the justice handed out by the justice system with mercy," said Douglas A. Berman, an Ohio State University law professor who studies presidential pardons. "This really is a stingy view of things, especially given how much larger our federal justice system is now" than it was in years past.

Pardon expert Margy Love says:

"What President Bush has done, to my personal way of thinking, is approach the use of his pardon power with no theory other than to stay safe," said Margaret Love, a Washington lawyer who served as federal pardon attorney, heading the government's screening of clemency petitions, between 1990 and 1997.

So what's wrong with playing it safe?

Love, Berman and others say that presidential clemency could be a useful and powerful tool. Not only could it set an example of forgiveness, but it could also focus attention on a wide range of issues, including the harsh punishment that is a byproduct of federal mandatory-sentencing laws. And if a president used the power regularly and objectively, they argue, it would diminish the controversy sure to accompany some clemency orders.

Our last post about Bush's pardons is here.

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