The Governor's Clemency Power: An Underused Tool to Mitigate the Impact of Measure 11 in Oregon
57 Pages Posted: 7 May 2019
Date Written: April 7, 2019
In this article, we analyze the historical use of the clemency power at both the federal and state levels; including the factors that occurred during the 20th century which resulted in both presidents and governors gradually using the power less, up until the 1980’s. We examine how the “war on crime” and other political and legal changes, including the imposition of new mandatory minimum sentencing laws during the 1980’s and 1990’s, has led to mass-incarceration at both a national and Oregonian level. We discuss how this new punitive sentencing and incarceration philosophy has resulted in a general souring on the use of the pardon power and is now seen as a challenge to powerful prosecutors who generally oppose clemency as an extra-judicial attack on their own policies. In looking at the current prison population in Oregon, we argue that the current Governor should use her pardon power as tool to mitigate some of the prevalent injustice in Oregon.
Keywords: Clemency, Pardon, Criminal
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