Reviewing Pardon Power/death Cases; (Editor's Note: In Illinois Executive Review of Death Row Cases Has Shown That Miscarriage of Justice Has Failed the State, Starting with Rogue Cops. Our Supreme Court Last Week Sent Home Two Innocent Prisoners after Staying in Death Row for Years.)
THE executive power to grant pardon is almost absolute. In the US, the president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
In September 1974, President Ford dropped a bombshell by announcing the unconditional pardon of former President Nixon a decision he reached without consulting party leaders, members of Congress, the special Watergate prosecutor, or the public. Fords press secretary expressed the disapproval felt by millions of Americans by immediately resigning.
(President Nixon had appointed Ford as vice president in place of Spiro Agnew who resigned after pleading guilty to tax evasion. After Nixons resignation Ford assumed the presidency and became the first unelected vice president and president in US history. Analysts attribute Fords narrow defeat by Jimmy Carter in November 1976 to his unconditional pardon of Nixon.)
State governors power of pardon
State governors in all 50 states have the power of pardon under the state constitution and other laws.
Last Friday (Jan. 10), Republican Governor George H. Ryan (Illinois) extended absolute pardon to four death row inmates, saying they were tortured into making false confessions. He commuted death sentences of 167 convicts. In his speech at Northwestern University, Ryan condemned the states criminal justice system for sending innocent men to prison to be executed. He said: We have evidence from four men, who did not know each other, all getting beaten, tortured and convicted on the basis of the confessions they allegedly provide.
According to Gov. Ryan Chicago police tortured the four death convicts into confessing to murders they had not committed. The three stayed in death row for at least 12 years and the fourth inmate was on death row the longest more than 17 years.
Ryan blamed rogue cops, zealous prosecutors, incompetent defense lawyers and judges who rule on technicalities rather than on what is right. (The New York Times)
Relevance to RP
We are referring to the justice system in the fifth largest state in the US where car plates proudly proclaim their states hero Lincoln country. …