Posted on July 5, 2007 Posted to Uncategorized
There it was, emblazoned across the front page of the Washington Post, a headline made especially disturbing by its publication on July 4:
Justice Is Unequal for Parents Who Host Teen Drinking Parties
What did it mean, I wondered. Poor parents go to jail, rich parents walk? The law is enforced in black neighborhoods, winked at in white suburbs?
Not exactly. In fact, the Post reported,
In Virginia and the District, parents who host such parties can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor that can carry jail time. In Maryland, hosting an underage drinking party is punished with a civil penalty, payable with a fine, even for multiple offenses.
So it’s not a story about unequal justice, just about different jurisdictions with different laws. But the Post sees it differently:
The stark contrast in punishments is just one inconsistency in a patchwork of conflicting legal practices and public attitudes about underage drinking parties.
Posted on July 4, 2007 Posted to Uncategorized
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton denounces the Libby commutation as “disregard for the rule of law” and a “clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.”
She has a point. But hello?! Wasn’t she part of the Clinton administration? Speaking of disregarding the rule of law.
And abusing the pardon power? The Clinton administration was notoriously stingy in pardoning real victims of unjust sentences. When it did use the pardon power, it seemed to have an unerring instinct for scandalous and undeserving beneficiaries. In 1999, as Hillary Clinton began her Senate campaign, President Clinton pardoned 16 members of the Puerto Rican terrorist organization FALN, raising questions about whether the pardons were intended to curry favor with New York’s Puerto Rican electorate. And then there was the infamous last day in office, when Clinton managed to pardon or commute the sentences of
- Marc Rich, a fugitive tax evader whose ex-wife was a major contributor to the Clintons;
- Susan McDougal, who loyally refused to testify in the Whitewater scandal;
- Child-molesting Democratic congressman Mel Reynolds;
- Post Office-molesting Democratic congressman Dan Rostenkowski;
- Cocaine kingpin Carlos Vignali, whose father was a major Democratic contributor;
- Four Hasidic shysters alleged to have promised and delivered Hasidic votes to Hillary Clinton’s first campaign;
- Clinton’s half-brother Roger;
- and various crooks who paid fees to Hillary Clinton’s brothers Hugh and Tony Rodham to lobby the First Family.
With so many people in jail who deserve a pardon, as Gene Healy and I have discussed in earlier Cato@Liberty posts, it’s appalling that both President Clinton and President Bush have used their pardon powers in such ways. And if anyone lacks credibility to criticize the Libby pardon, it would be President Clinton and Senator Clinton.
Posted on July 4, 2007 Posted to Uncategorized
President Bush has pushed the envelope of every aspect of executive power, except for two that might ease the burden of government, the veto and the pardon. Now he’s threatening to protect the taxpayers with his veto pen, and he’s just discovered his power to pardon or commute the sentences of people convicted of crimes. Whether Scooter Libby was an appropriate recipient of a commutation is subject to much debate.
But there are plenty of other people who deserve presidential pardons or commutations. Families Against Mandatory Minimums has highlighted a number of good cases here:
Mandy Martinson — 15 years for helping her boyfriend count his drug-dealing money.
DeJarion Echols — 20 years for selling a small amount of crack and owning a gun, causing Reagan-appointed federal judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. to say, “This is one of those situations where I’d like to see a congressman sitting before me.”
Weldon Angelos — 55 years for minor marijuana and gun charges, causing the George W. Bush-appointed judge Paul Cassell, previously best known for pressing the courts to overturn the Miranda decision, to call the mandatory sentence in this case “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.”
Anthea Harris — 15 years when members of her husband’s drug ring received sentence reductions to testify against her, although she had not been directly involved in the business.
A compassionate conservative should also use the pardon power to head off the DEA’s war against doctors who help patients alleviate pain. He could start by pardoning Dr. Ronald McIver, sentenced to 30 years for prescribing Oxycontin and other drugs to patients in severe pain. Or Dr. William Hurwitz of Virginia, sentenced to 25 years but then granted a retrial, convicted again, and awaiting sentencing, which could still be 10 years.
Commute these sentences, Mr. President.
Posted on July 3, 2007 Posted to Uncategorized
Just in time for primary season comes a new novel by Al Gore’s daughter about a Southern governor’s scandalous behavior in the White House, and the terrible embarrassment he causes the loyal and deeply honorable senator who becomes his vice president, and the paranoid and plastic First Lady. Meow.
Posted on July 2, 2007 Posted to Uncategorized