Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Romney dispensed little compassion as Mass. Governor

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney refused to grant a single pardon.  Not one offender engendered enough compassion in Romney for him to grant a pardon.

Romney, served as governor from 2003 to 2007, he has proudly advertised his record of granting no pardons, saying he did not want to overturn the decision of a jury.  According to ProPublic.com, Romney received requests for 172 pardons and 100 commutations. The state's Advisory Board of Pardons recommended that he approve more than a dozen applications.

Romney plays-up his conservative credentials yet ignores that the founding fathers acknowledged pardons as an important part of the criminal justice system. Since this country's inception it has been acknowledged that questions of guilt and innocence are best left to the citizenry.  This fundamental right introduces an element of fallibility into the process, mistakes will be made. Some who are guilty will go free, some who are innocent will be convicted.

Pardons are a means to interject compassion and mercy into a somewhat mechanical process. Without the possibility of compassion and mercy, Alexander Hamilton argued, "justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel."  Another words, justice would have a cruel and bloody face.

Romney may not have taken heed of the founding fathers, but he did have sense of history when he refused every single pardon that came before him. Approving a pardon can be a risky move for a governor with national ambitions, reported ProPublica.com. A Massachusetts furlough program that released a convicted murderer, Willie Horton, who went on to rape a woman and beat her fiancé, became a major point of attack against former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis in his 1988 presidential contest with George H. W. Bush.

Massachusetts does not have the death penalty, so Romney never faced a pardon that meant the difference between life and death. Romney did introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty for some serious crimes. He touted his death penalty plan as 100 percent foolproof. Even the Massachusetts legislature was not fooled by that assertion. Romney's effort did not succeed.

Texas Governor Rick Perry allowed the executions of 238 convicted killers.  Texas is the most prolific state in the country in terms of executions.  However, Perry has pardoned 178 people in his nearly 11 years in office. In his six years as Texas governor, former President George W. Bush pardoned only 21, according to ProPublica.com.

To read more: http://www.propublica.org/article/perry-more-generous-with-pardons-than-romney/single

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