Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland Announces Clemency (Pardon) Decisions

Most of the Honorable Ted Strickland, Governor of the state of Ohio's favorable clemency decisions are grants of pardon (2005-2006: 29; 2007: 39) associated with comparatively minor and/or non-violent offenses. In every case, these pardons have been granted to individuals who have completed their entire sentence, usually many years ago. Virtually every case involves an individual who has not re-offended with the exception of traffic violations.

The individuals granted pardons today have demonstrated that they have been rehabilitated and have assumed the responsibilities of citizenship.

Former Governor Bob Taft did not act on 63 clemency requests from 2005 and 2006. So Governor Strickland's staff has been overwhelmed with reviewing all requests.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn have granted an unprecedented number of pardons.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland Announces Clemency (Pardon) Decisions

Most of the Honorable Ted Strickland, Governor of the state of Ohio's favorable clemency decisions are grants of pardon (2005-2006: 29; 2007: 39) associated with comparatively minor and/or non-violent offenses. In every case, these pardons have been granted to individuals who have completed their entire sentence, usually many years ago. Virtually every case involves an individual who has not re-offended with the exception of traffic violations.

The individuals granted pardons today have demonstrated that they have been rehabilitated and have assumed the responsibilities of citizenship.

Former Governor Bob Taft did not act on 63 clemency requests from 2005 and 2006. So Governor Strickland's staff has been overwhelmed with reviewing all requests.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn have granted an unprecedented number of pardons.

PLEASE NOTE THAT EACH STATE IS SOVEREIGN WITH ITS OWN CONSTITUTION AND LAWS. IN GEORGIA FOR EXAMPLE, THE GOVERNOR HAS ABSOLUTELY NO PARDON AUTHORITY.


Ohio Governor Strickland has already begun his review of the 177 recommendations received from the Parole Board during 2008, after which he will turn to the 226 recommendations already received in 2009.

"I believe the clemency power should be used judiciously to give a second chance to those who have demonstrated they deserve it, and to modify the unusually long sentence that is out of sync with the norm," Strickland said. "I do not intend my clemency decisions to be seen as a determination that mistakes were made by judges, prosecutors, police officers or others in the criminal justice system. These decisions are another part of the overall system of justice that attempts to hold individuals responsible for their behavior while recognizing that ours is a society able to forgive, and welcome back, those who demonstrate they have earned, and can responsibly handle, society's mercy and forgiveness."

Governor's Constitutional Clemency Authority and Pardon Process:
The Ohio Parole Board and Governor Strickland consider applications for two forms of clemency: commutations and pardons. A commutation is the change of a legal punishment for the commission of a crime to a lesser punishment. A pardon is a complete forgiveness for a crime committed, eliminating all penalties and other legal consequences for the commission of a crime. An individual granted a full and unconditional pardon is deemed, by law, to have never committed the offense.

The Ohio Constitution authorizes Ohio's governor to grant pardons and commutations "for all crimes and offenses, except treason and cases of impeachment" (Article III, Section 11). Under Ohio law, the governor may only grant a pardon or commutation after the adult parole authority has received a clemency application and the parole authority has provided a written recommendation to the governor. The governor may follow or reject the parole authority's recommendation.

The governor's legal staff review of each parole board recommendation includes, but is not limited to: communication with the court and the prosecutor's office involved in the conviction; input and assistance from law enforcement officials, defense counsel, witnesses, victims and others who may have information relevant to the governor's decisions; consultation of official records from the offender's prosecution and appeals, the parole board's report and exhibits, petitions, letters, media reports and other documents or materials concerning the case.

The legal counsel prepares these findings for the governor's review, initially shielding their clemency recommendations at the governor's request. After a thorough and detailed discussion of the specifics of a given case, the legal staff presents their recommendation for or against clemency. The governor considers the totality of information presented for each application and decides whether to approve or deny clemency.

The governor's office estimates that in excess of 1,000 person hours have been spent reviewing the cases announced today.
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