Friday, December 3, 2010

Good and Mad Listening for the Weekend

Will we see any pardons or commutations from President Obama this holiday season?

Not unless there are some major shake-ups in the way the Obama Administration and its Department of Justice handle clemency requests, according to this radio show, which aired yesterday on the Kojo Naamdi show (if you prefer reading, here's the transcript). Guests Samuel T. Morison and P.S. Ruckman discussed the lack of pardons and commutations from President Obama -- and how it is the Department of Justice that is largely to blame.

Sam Morison is a former attorney with the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), which reviews clemency applications and makes recommendations on clemency to the president.  The problem:  OPA sees its job as denying clemency and reinforcing the convictions prosecutors have won, so virtually all applications are uniformly denied.  P.S. Ruckman runs the Pardon Power blog, which has a whole weekend's worth of statistical data on clemency to read at your leisure.