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One Commutation, Thousands More to Go
By Carmen D. Hernandez
President's Column columns.
Recently, the president of the United States commuted the sentence of
White House assistant I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, stating that the
three-year sentence imposed by the federal judge was “excessively harsh”
for “a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service.”
While many were critical of that decision, my response was: Yes, Mr.
President, putting a man behind bars for three years is harsh
punishment. Will you now please commute the sentences of the tens of
thousands of other men and women who are rotting in jail, serving
equally and much more “excessively harsh” sentences? Indeed, I guarantee
that every criminal defense lawyer in America could send the president a
list of three people in prison today whose sentences are excessively
harsh for the crime of which they were convicted, and who are at least
as deserving of the exercise of the president’s constitutional
prerogative to commute and pardon.
On the heels of the Libby commutation, duri
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