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MD's Gov. Erlich: Bold Use of Pardon Power

Cheers today to Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr, who has been actively using his pardon power to correct injustices.

Since taking office in 2003, Ehrlich ® has granted clemency to 190 former convicts, reversing a two-decade trend among state and national chief executives, who have largely shelved their power to issue pardons.

Some examples:

[T]he governor has also tackled cases that his predecessor wouldn't touch: a backlog of clemency appeals from lifers who had convinced state parole officials that they were ready to be released. "You have these situations where race may have played a part, insufficient counsel may have played a part, where the shooter is out and the accomplice is still in," Ehrlich said. "Those needed to be addressed."

His reasoning:

[H]is law school training and his marriage to a public defender instilled in him a sense of duty. "This is what governors do," Ehrlich said. "Criminal justice is something I'm trained in, and I believe in it. But I know at times the system doesn't work even though there are a lot of safeguards."

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  • Re: MD's Gov. Erlich: Bold Use of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#1)
    by Beck on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 08:43:36 AM EST
    ...reversing a two-decade trend among state and national chief executives, who have largely shelved their power to issue pardons.
    Two decades. That would go back roughly to 1988 and the Dukakis presidential campaign. They're afraid they might pardon the next Willie Horton.

    Re: MD's Gov. Erlich: Bold Use of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 12:07:25 PM EST
    Governor Ehrlich deserves kudos for being more aggressive in pardoning. It's gone on far too long, that our government has no qualms over incarcerating vast numbers of people, but never makes any realistic effort toward rehabilitation or pardon for those who have changed their ways. Still, I cannot help but wonder whether the coming elections have anything to do with this.

    Re: MD's Gov. Erlich: Bold Use of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sumner on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 04:57:04 PM EST
    This is welcome news in light of such an over-punishing frenzy. The courageous and gallant step may help offset an image problem of that administration from the governor's wife's gargantuan gaff in acerbic language attacking Britney Spears. It also breathes new life into Portia's quote "The quality of mercy is not strain'd..." Perhaps O/T but relevant to sentences and justice, is the link at The Volokh Conspiracy, which reports that the Ninth Circuit is issuing an open solicitation for briefs re: Booker. I have already commented here about one post-Booker overture to add-on punishment by government.

    Re: MD's Gov. Erlich: Bold Use of Pardon Power (none / 0) (#4)
    by Lww on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 08:05:29 PM EST
    Ehrlich is a progressive in one of the most crooked states in the country. Agnew and Mandel were disgraced predecessors. Glendening and the democratic leadership ruled the state like a fiefdom. The Baltimore Sun staff is scrambling to get out a negative slant on this story. That's Maryland politics.