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March 11, 2008

Should Prez Bush (or would a Prez Clinton) consider a pardon for Gov Spitzer?

Over at Pardon Power, P.S. Ruckman already has this entertaining post talking about Governor Eliot Spitzer and clemency issues.  Here is a snippet:

Should Gov. Spitzer be convicted (of anything), he stands a much-better-than-average chance of also benefiting from a presidential pardon — the irony being that, as governor, he has been notoriously stingy with the clemency power.  Well, actually, there is another, even greater irony: Spitzer is on record as supporting a presidential pardon for long-since deceased boxing legend Jack Johnson, who was also convicted for ... violating the Mann Act! Kinda has that feel of Bill Clinton pardoning all of those individuals for lying under oath and making false statements to government agents, doesn't it?

Why might Spitzer be pardoned?  Because 1) former governors in legal trouble have a pretty darn good record for such and 2) it appears likely to many that the next president will be a fellow Democrat.  Spitzer is, after all, one of those ever-so-popular "Superdelegates." Either way, he will probably not be treated in the manner suggested by one South Carolina Senator who, back in the day, recommended that Diggs and Caminetti be "shot like dogs."  So, it may be one more addition for our Presidential Pardon "Watch List".

March 11, 2008 at 12:08 PM | Permalink


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Should Governor Spitzer quickly pardon all those prostitutes and johns who stand convicted in New York? It seems right, considering how it can happen to anybody.

Posted by: shg | Mar 11, 2008 12:39:16 PM

This debate is rather like the Cold War, and it is chilly. The focus is always on who will be the toughest, on who will be as tough or tougher than someone in the past or on if there were hypocrisies that interfered with toughness. These debates are never on if the previous sentences were too severe though Bush granted that they sometimes were when he pardoned Libby.

A better debate would ask, Is this really any of the federal government's business? Do we want the federal government using the Mann Act for consensual sex crimes?

Unless the call girl was forced into it by a national or international "human trafficking" ring, I say no.

Posted by: George | Mar 11, 2008 12:49:07 PM

it can happen to anybody

not really.

Posted by: | Mar 11, 2008 1:28:55 PM

Why should this guy get pardoned? He has a terrible pardoning recored. The hypocrisy of this guy should reflects what good for the goose is good for the gander.
If this guy get pardoned then I hate to say but there should be an overhaul of the legal system less a revolution.

Posted by: | Mar 11, 2008 2:29:52 PM

I think Spitzer will get a Bill Clinton style plea offer -- leave office & give up the bar card. I suspect that and maybe a fine to a nonprofit will be all that Mr. Spitzer sees. I feel sorry for him, in a few days the only friend he will have left is the family dog, that is if his wife doesn't take it when she leaves.

Posted by: karl | Mar 11, 2008 8:11:14 PM

I find it very hard to feel sorry for him. This is a man who:
1) Was raised in an affluent neighborhood.
2) Attended an elite Ivy League prep school.
3) Attended Princeton and Harvard Law
4) Clerked for a federal judge before joining an elite law firm
5) Worked for six years to bring down organized crime, and perhaps this is the cynic in me, but cashed in by joining another elite law firm in 1992, before moving on to consumer and anti-trust issues in 1994 until his election as AG in 1998.
6) Did some good (if ultimately hypocritical and/or questionable) work from 1998-2006.
7) Allegedly hired prostitutes for thousands of dollars and arranged for their transport in interstate commerce.

So yes, while I agree that he has probably done a lot of good, he had every advantage and his failure is his own. The unfortunates here are his wife and children, and the people of New York, who if polls are to be believed had already turned against the governor.

Posted by: Alec | Mar 12, 2008 1:47:03 AM

I have been waiting for a pardon from the Governor of North Carolina for 8 years for a non violent crime. One thing that I am sure of is that The Governor Of New York will most surely get a pardon before me.

Posted by: Gary | Mar 12, 2008 10:45:16 AM

I don't know what this concern for his wife and children are. If this wasn't a crime, going to a prostitute would be as "normal" as, say, going to a tanning booth, seeing a masseur, or getting your scalp waxed. There are, spouses and children that might disapprove of these things (and might seek a divorce for them), but since they are legal they don't carry this stigma.

Perhaps someone could do a law review article on how prostitution is a crime design to create a stigma (and perhaps humiliate people into divorces) whereas other crimes already had a stigma.

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 12, 2008 4:19:54 PM


Perhaps I should be more clear. My sympathy for the governor's wife and kids goes out not because this is an act of prostitution or because consensual adult sex is somehow dirty, but because A) Assuming his wife did not know this was going on he betrayed her trust and perhaps health and B) his wife and kids are now even more unwilling objects of media attention than they were when he chose to pursue the governor's office. This is not about the sensationalist appearance of impropriety, it is about impropriety itself.

Posted by: Alec | Mar 13, 2008 1:38:55 AM

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