Last week, outgoing Governor Ernie Fletcher granted 87 last-minute pardons and sentence reductions as he left office. Some have complained that many were just paybacks for political cronies. While others have praised Mr. Fletcher for showing mercy to several people who truly deserved it.
But either way, here's my question:
How many of these people would have gotten any such break had Fletcher won re-election last month?
I'm thinking none.
A governor should have the right to issue pardons. But they shouldn't be used as nothing more than feel-good going away presents that can be given only because there's no fear of consequence.
If people really deserve this kind of mercy - and I think several do - why wait this long to grant it? Why aren't pardons a regular occurrence throughout every governor's term?
I'll tell you. Because if that were the deal, the governor would have to make a convincing case for each one on its individual merits. And he wouldn't get to hide a few political payoffs among the truly deserving as a final gesture of contempt.
Any governor who wants to issue pardons should be required to do so before Election Day -- not after he knows he's been defeated. Then we'd see who's really willing to put his money where his mouth is.
What do you think? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.