Decentralizing Clemency: Decentralizing the Commutation Power to Invigorate Sentence Reduction

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 542

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 19, May 2020

17 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020

See all articles by Riley Kane

Riley Kane

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2020

Abstract

Reforming sentencing and reducing prison overcrowding requires a focus on the future to ensure just punishments and the past to re-evaluate harsh punishments from the ‘tough on crime’ era. This paper focuses on ending those past wrongs. Executive clemency is sometimes discussed as a method for addressing harsh punishments, but there are only so many governors and Presidents. This paper proposes amending the Ohio Constitution to grant the elected county prosecutors a commutation power subject to veto by the governor. This would decentralize clemency and create a new, potentially system-reshaping tool to address harsh sentences and empower reform-minded prosecutors. The paper additionally discusses other methods to expand clemency and favors adopting the novel constitutional amendment in addition to other reforms for maximum impact.

Keywords: Decarceration, Clemency powers, Clemency decentralization, Decentralizing commutation powers, Sentence reduction, Reforming sentencing, prosecutorial clemency powers

Suggested Citation

Kane, Riley, Decentralizing Clemency: Decentralizing the Commutation Power to Invigorate Sentence Reduction (May 4, 2020). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 542, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 19, May 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3592560 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3592560

Riley Kane (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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