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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MERCY: CLEMENCY

The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 'T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown: His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice. 
The Merchant of Venice.

The NY Times Op Ed Piece here on the Presidential power of clemency:

The constitutional provision that gives the president virtually unlimited authority to grant clemency was not an afterthought. The founders understood very well that there could be miscarriages of justice even under the rule of law. By allowing the president to commute unjust sentences or pardon deserving petitioners who had served their time, they sought to ensure that the workings of the courts could be tempered with mercy.
...

The perpetual punishment model of justice has had far-reaching consequences. Politicians stayed as far away from clemency as they could, fearing that voters would view them as soft on crime. Meanwhile, at the Justice Department, the clemency process — which had been a cabinet-level responsibility — fell under the authority of prosecutors who seemed to view even reasonable lenience as a threat to the prosecutorial order. The time required to handle clemency applications went from months to years; the backlog grew; the stream of mercy that had once flowed began to dry up.
The clemency system, in other words, is in a state of collapse. But the concept of mercy went out of fashion by the 1980s, when the country embarked on a mandatory sentencing craze that barred judges from exercising leniency when it was clearly warranted and placed the justice system almost entirely in the hands of prosecutors. As a consequence, even first-time offenders were largely viewed as beyond redemption.
These laws drove up the prison population 10-fold and filled the jails with young, low-level drug offenders who were confined far longer than their offenses warranted. They also created a large and growing class of felons, who are trapped permanently at the margins of society by postprison sanctions — laws that bar them from jobs and housing, strip them of the right to vote and make it difficult for them to obtain essential documents like driver’s licenses.
The perpetual punishment model of justice has had far-reaching consequences. Politicians stayed as far away from clemency as they could, fearing that voters would view them as soft on crime. Meanwhile, at the Justice Department, the clemency process — which had been a cabinet-level responsibility — fell under the authority of prosecutors who seemed to view even reasonable lenience as a threat to the prosecutorial order. The time required to handle clemency applications went from months to years; the backlog grew; the stream of mercy that had once flowed began to dry up.
The clemency system, in other words, is in a state of collapse.

Rumpole says: For too long Congress and state legislatures and Representatives and Governors and Senators have engaged in the unseemly and struthious like spectacle  of hiding their heads in the sand while tens of thousands of Americans were sentenced to life altering minimum mandatory sentences for minimal and non-violent drug activities. 
Stop the madness. 

See You In Court.

10 comments:

money talks said...

Well, Marc Rich got his pardon pretty quick, shortly after a $450,000 donation to the Bill Clinton presidential library. Eric Holder knows about that one. As Michael Myers is recorded saying in the 1980 Abscam scandal "money talks and bullshit walks."

http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/07/02/marc_rich_presidential_pardon_how_eric_holder_facilitated_the_most_unjust.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Myers_%28politician%29

The drug sentences are a catastrophe, but local governments are addicted to forfeiture income and a sense of moral certitude in the war on drugs, so don’t expect any significant change soon.

Ole Bill Buckley made some good points before the New York Bar Association,

The late William F. Buckley, Jr. in a statement [reported 12Feb96, National Review] to the New York Bar Association: "WE ARE speaking of a plague that consumes an estimated $75 billion per year of public money, exacts an estimated $70 billion a year from consumers, is responsible for nearly 50 per cent of the million Americans who are today in jail, occupies an estimated 50 per cent of the trial time of our judiciary, and takes the time of 400,000 policemen -- yet a plague for which no cure is at hand, nor in prospect.....This is perhaps the moment to note that the pharmaceutical cost of cocaine and heroin is approximately 2 per cent of the street price of those drugs. Since a cocaine addict can spend as much as $1,000 per week to sustain his habit, he would need to come up with that $1,000. The approximate fencing cost of stolen goods is 80 per cent, so that to come up with $1,000 can require stealing $5,000 worth of jewels, cars, whatever. We can see that at free-market rates, $20 per week would provide the addict with the cocaine which, in this wartime drug situation, requires of him $1,000....And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors."

The War on Drugs is Lost - 12Feb96 National Review

http://old.nationalreview.com/12feb96/drug.html

That was 18 years ago, by a conservative.

Anonymous said...

Rump,

Have you ever received payment for fees in bitcoin?

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


It falls to us, the criminal defense lawyers, both public defenders and the private defense bar, to step up and educate and inform, the public in general, and our elected leaders, as we are still the indefatigable defenders of human rights in this country.

We can sit by idly and bitch or we can become engaged by lobbying and in actually running for office, something that we used to do much more regularly in the past.

Who else but Liberty's Last Champions are best suited for this great debate.

Cap Out .....
Captain4justice@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

crime has continually gone down in the last twenty years. even while the economy ebbed and flowed. think the "madness" you speak of has worked for the most part. No time now to end it. Except for minor drug offenses that should be dealt with differently, most min mans are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Anonymous said...

Social media exploding over the young hot dade asa canoodling in public with media heartthrob Ronan Farrow Anybody know her?

Eye on DJ Esquire said...

Grieco just doesn't get it or know how to get out his own egotistical way.

His official Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco page posts an article from a paralyzed woman speaking out about the Justin Bieber case.

Follow the link below to her article.

If you find Grieco's Official Miami Beach City Commissioner page on FB, it's there. If not, he read this and took it down.

Either way, MG needs an ethics inquiry shoved up his pitoot.

Get over yourself d-bag.

Anonymous said...

Funny how really bad convicted murderers like the guy that killed Jimmy Ryce get rather swift executions....

Like:
Timothy McVeigh
Ted Bundy

to name a few.

Anonymous said...

Ronan Farrow is very openly gay (though he hasn't had a Sports Illustrated cover yet).

Any hot young dade ASA "canoodling" with him will have a harder time than she would in any trial we could give her.

Anonymous said...

who else is going into the schwartz dooley race????

Anonymous said...

On September 18, 2013, at a packed public hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) compared the war on drugs to the racist policies of the Jim Crow era.

"If I told you that one out of three African-American males is forbidden by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago," Paul said. "Yet today, a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting because of the war on drugs."

"Three-fourths of all people in prison for drug offenses are African American or Latino."

Paul was arguing against mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which require judges and prosecutors to impose severe penalties against those convicted of low-level drug crimes.

Paul and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are the authors of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which would allow judges to deliver sentences that deviate from the mandatory minimums in certain cases.

At the hearing, Paul decried the fact that people convicted of low-level drug felonies are often barred from voting.

"I know a guy about my age in Kentucky who grew marijuana plants in his apartment closet in college," he said.

"Thirty years later, he still can't vote, can't own a gun, and when he looks for work, he must check the box, the box that basically says, 'I'm a convicted felon, and I guess I'll always be one.'"