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August 8, 2007

The state of pardons in one state

A helpful reader sent me this link to an interesting article the in Willamette Week (from Portland, Oregon) discussing how rarely Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has granted pardons, and questioning why he chose to grant a pardon to one well-connected man while denying pardons to many more meritorious applicants.   The article talks a lot about the recent history of pardons in Oregon.  Here is a snippet:

Unlike the deluge of news surrounding President George W. Bush's commutation last month of Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence, Kulongoski's pardons are a quiet affair involving a small number of people.

The pittance of pardons means only a lucky few have hit the jackpot.  Only six out of 301—just 2 percent—have gotten a pardon.  They had a better chance of getting into Harvard or Yale. 

But according to the governor's general counsel, David Reese, the process is as methodical as its lucky recipients are spare. "The stars all really have to be aligned for your [pardon] application to move forward," says Reese, who researches and presents the governor with a recommendation on each pardon application....

Yet even a self-described "crime-fighting advocate" such as Republican Kevin Mannix wonders why Kulongoski offers such long odds for other pardon applicants. "I don't think the governor exercises his pardoning power as much as he might," says Mannix, Kulongoski's opponent in 2002 and the main sponsor of 1994's Measure 11, which instituted mandatory sentencing for violent offenders.  Mannix has touted the governor's pardon as Measure 11's escape valve, counterbalancing the law's removal of judges' sentencing discretion.  "With the tougher sentences of Measure 11," he told WW in 1999, "I always said that one of the offshoots would be that the governor, from time to time, would need to exercise clemency power."

August 8, 2007 at 07:32 PM | Permalink


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Worth noting that the article contains statistics on pardons from his predecessor and in two other states.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Aug 9, 2007 7:34:28 PM

I want a pardon, my little girl is sick and has seizures. I have a violent felony for a minor injury. There are clauses in our state law make spit a felony. I wish I would have thought ahead when I was young. No jobs with the V felonies these days.

Posted by: Cmckean | Dec 28, 2009 6:23:25 AM

I cry myself to sleep at night.

Posted by: Cmckean | Dec 28, 2009 6:26:59 AM

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