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    Compare these 3 cases

    Sure the three criminal cases illustrated below (videos) happened in different states, but ask yourself, should politicians control clemency after viewing these three cases.

      

    SF Bayview Newspaper

    Public Policy Institute of California
    Beyond Bars Videos by:
    Tuesday
    Sep142010

    THE POWER TOOL

    The most powerful tool in criminal justice is clemency (mercy). So why not use this tool to fix what is wrong with our justice system in a way that delivers justice to the many cases where injustice has cost so many their rights? 

    Clemency laws vary from state to state and then there is federal clemency. All need a 21st century amendment to ensure that politics are removed from all justice proceedings.

    California Clemency Boards was designed to be the answer against injustice in our court system. In California this could include “3 Strikes” laws that incarcerate petty criminals for 25 years before they are even eligible for parole. In other states, we hear so many innocent incacerated and it taking ten years or more to win the release of the innocent. A new clemency process can streamline clear and convincing cases. Currently they have to wait years before they get the sympathetic ear of a judge. 

    The greatest system of justice sometimes goes too far and it is partly to blame for prison overcrowding. There are too many cases where a man was released from prison after serving 10, 15 or 20 years for a crime he did not commit. The many years is due to the appeals process that I support 100%. But the Supreme Court ruling to uphold a 26 year to life sentence for California inmate, Santos Reyes convicted under the 3 Strikes law for cheating on a driving application made it clear that a better tool for balancing justice is needed. http://facts1.live.radicaldesigns.org/article.php?id=294 

    With the availability of 21st century technology (DNA) it is easier to determine if a person is innocent or guilty so the need for lawyers to maneuver around the many layers and years of the appeals process can be eliminated. And in the case of Reyes a new clemency law would prevent over zealous prosecutions. With the understanding that petty convictions connected to long sentences could automatically end up being tossed out in a clemency board review. These petty prosecutions would drop to zero.

    Monday
    Sep132010

    PARDON ME

    There is something about a presidential pardon that just doesn't sit right with me. Every year starting with the president's  Thanksgiving Day pardon of a turkey I ask myself, is this the best person for the task of granting a pardon?

    I have noticed that our presidents have a habit of granting a bunch of well deserving pardons and a couple of special pardons for what we average citizens find out, after the fact mind you, are pardons to friends of that president. Former president Bill Clinton took the cake when he not only pardoned his own brother (drug conviction) but he granted a pardon to a billionaire, Marc Rich who was indicted on income tax evasion charges. If you or I pardoned a relitive or friend, the public would be screaming crime so loud it would cause an earthquake. So I suggest a change for justice sake.

    First, on a state level, create a new clemency sysytem that gives clemency powers to citizens of that state. The governor and courts are much to busy to keep an eye on released prisoners, so allow those who are more likely to interact with the released have the final say on who is worthy of a "Second chance." In California I would call it, "The California Clemency Boards." By random selection, those who qualify and agree to sit on a revolving county clemency board would review prison records of those who have a legitimate request for clemency from their county. Board members (no more than 5 register voters) would have the power to release a prisoner if they agree with the pre established legitimate reasons for release.

    This country incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and for some of the dumbest reasons like, stealing a pizza. Why do we allow our president or high officials to have the power to pardon a billionaire friend who cheated on his taxes? We have been oh so quiet about a person who was no doubt hungry and stole a pizza spend and have adoptted an OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND attitude when it cost $49,000.00 to rot in a California prison per year.

    Perks for being president should not be that you get to give your friends or relative a get out of jail free card. And I would not be dumb enout to suggest that anyone receive a free pass on crime. But let's face it, something has to be done and I believe that citizens with the right law will be able to figure out whom is worthy of an early release. Is it a tax cheat or a pizza thief?

    A new clemency system could save billions by not having petty criminal rot in prisons, reduce overcrowding perminately by monitoring prison levels and allowing nonviolent or nonserios prisoners released through the work of the clemency boards. There are many other benefits that could streamline our justice system with this 21st century apprach to reducing the prison population safely.

    Friday
    Sep102010

    COMPARE the two MICHAELS

    1994 CASE: Michael James is serving a 25 to life sentence under “Three Strikes” for passing a bad check at an Alpha Beta store for $94.00.

    2008 CASE: Michael Schneider is serving a 28 year 4 month sentence for “Running a fraudulent real estate investments scam/Ponzi schemes for over 14 years; wherein he stole over $43,000,000 from over 57 investors, many of whom were elderly and lost their lifesaving.” He pleaded no contest to 173 felony counts (including residential burglary, builder financial abuse, embezzlement, grand theft and forgery).

    GUESS WHICH MICHAEL HAS THE BETTER CHANCE OF BEING RELEASED FROM PRISON EARLY?

    ANSWER: Michael Schneider, can be eligible for parole after serving 85% (23 years) of his sentence including credit for good behavior under California law. However, Michael James has to serve 25 years before he can be considered for parole under California law.

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