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September 10, 2016

"Fewer Hands, More Mercy: A Plea for a Better Federal Clemency System"

The title of this post is the title of this timely new paper by Mark Osler now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The constitutional pardon power has generated more controversy than mercy over the past three decades.  Even President Obama, who has pursued a focused clemency initiative, has struggled to meet historical standards.  While changing ideas relating to retribution play a role in this decline, there is another significant factor at play: too much bureaucracy.
Beginning around 1980, a review process has evolved that is redundant and biased towards negative decisions. No fewer than seven levels of review take place as cases course through four different federal buildings, a jagged path that dooms the process.  For years, this bureaucracy stymied even President Obama’s intention to reduce prison populations; the relative success of his clemency initiative came despite this bureaucracy, not because of it, and only after seven and a half years of futility.
This article analyzes the development of this system and the problems it creates before offering solutions based on the experience of state governments and President Ford’s successful use of a Presidential Clemency Board.

September 10, 2016 at 08:36 PM | Permalink


Get educated.it is a natural plant that heals and helps and should be available like alcohol or medicine legalize marijuana everywhere it should be my choice what I put in my body

Posted by: Bette Davis | Sep 12, 2016 6:30:02 AM

I am a volunteer for CAN DO CLEMENCY FOUNDATION trying to get elderly people clemency from President Obama that are gravely ill,incarcerated for nonviolent offenses for decades that don't want to die alone in prison,ann example is Carswell Medical Center in Ft.Worth Texas

Posted by: DBette Davis | Sep 12, 2016 11:31:36 PM

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