Should we remove the power of presidents and governors to dismiss crimes?

Remember when Clinton left office and incidentally pardoned a batch of old supporters. And it turned out all prior presidents had done the same and worse.
Seemed wrong, didn’t it?
And every time I hear about some inmate begging the governor of wherever for early release, or stay of execution, I wonder:
Why exactly do we have this big thing that the governor is as powerful as an olden day duke? Who the hell is he to override the decisions of many many juries and judges and parole boards?
Isn’t this “executive privilege” just a badge of ancient power structures, when the elite could push their minions around?
And the kind of thing that should fall by the wayside as we move away from autocratic and toward democratic rule. Like the current trend to have elections replace appointments when a retiring senator leaves a vacancy.

The only adavntage of it is that it gives some leeway in some rare situations for instance guilt is still very dubious despite the culprit having regularily found guilty, a law still in the books has absurd and possibly unintended consequences, when there are humane reason for releasing a prisonner, etc…
It’s very often used in France to empty overcrowded jails a little and make room for the newcomers.

The President’s pardon power is provided by the U.S. Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 2: “…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Governors have equivalent or similar powers under their state constitutions or by statute. Many of their pardon powers are more limited than the President’s, however, often because there is a pardon board which considers applications and makes recommendations (of varying degrees of binding authority, depending on the state) to the governor.

The pardon power is a holdover from the royal prerogative in the UK. This article explains a bit more:

The pardon power can be abused, no doubt, but so can virtually every other power entrusted to a public official. I can think of several pardons with which I disagreed, but I think the heads of the Federal and state executive branches ought to have the power to grant them. There are times when a pardon will remedy an injustice, or serve some broader public-policy goal such as encouraging national reconciliation.

I agree with Elendil’s Heir. The pardon power is useful to correct legal injustices and for those times when following the letter of the law is not always in the best interests of the state.

So we shouldn’t get rid of it. I do believe we should make politicians more accountable by restricting the use of the pardon to before Election Day. Lame duck executive officers should not be allowed to pardon anyone. Of course, that begs the question of the use of the pardon by officials facing a term limit.

Just my 2sense.

The pardon power is also useful in removing legal liabilities that come with being an ex-con. For instance, if someone is convicted of a felony in his youth but then becomes a produtive member of society, the governor or President can pardon that person which returns them the right to vote, own a gun, etc. This is a useful tool to have as a way to reward those who have straightened out their lives.

So if you’re on death row, you have strong evidence you’ve been wrongfully convicted, and the judge has signed your death warrant to fall between the election day and the day the new Prez/Gov is sworn in, you can’t apply for a pardon? but if the guy in the cell next to you is scheduled to be killed the day after the new Prez/Gov comes in, he can apply for a pardon?

How is this fair? :confused:

Certainly such a person could apply for a pardon. They could apply year after year. It’s just that the application would have to be accepted before Election Day. Still, new evidence might come to light after the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. So I suppose there should be a moratorium on executions from November through February.

( And, while I am waving my magic wand, during all the other months as well. :wink: )

Just my 2sense