On Christmas Eve, I thought this list of New Yorkers who had their crimes pardoned or sentences commuted by Governor Cuomo would remind us that this executive power is usually used for just and compassionate reasons, not to reward shitty grifters or war criminals:
Kaydian McKenzie, 43, was convicted of Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree and Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree in 2001 and 2002. Ms. McKenzie has been crime free for 18 years, is a registered nurse, and has worked at a nursing home in New York State throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis. In addition to her role as a frontline worker, Ms. McKenzie is the mother of three U.S. citizen and is active in her local church, where she has volunteered with a program that delivers food to older New Yorkers who are living alone. A pardon will help Ms. McKenzie remain in the United States with her family.[…]
Theresa Debo, 64, was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree in 2006. She has served 16 years of a 22 years to life sentence. As a child, Ms. Debo was removed from an abusive family environment and placed in foster care. She cycled in and out of abusive relationships throughout her adult life, including a relationship with victim of the crime for which she has now been incarcerated for more than 16 years and who she maintains she killed in self-defense. Ms. Debohad no prior criminal history. While incarcerated, Ms. Debo has participated in numerous programs addressing the effects of abuse. Ms. Debo has earned certification as a hospice aid and has participated in several animal caretaker training programs, including Puppies Behind Bars as well as veterinary assistance, pet grooming, and dog obedience training.
I read the whole list and didn’t see any white collar criminals or family members. Lots of marijuana convictions — I hope when we finally legalize it, they’ll all be released in a blanked pardon or legislative act. Since it is essentially decriminalized now, some kind of clemency should have happened already.
Pardons aren’t for a Soviet shitpile mobster conman to hand out as thanks for staying quiet? ?
Anonymous At Work
Won’t be a blanket pardon for MJ, ever. Will be a commission and process to request. That will allow more than a few chickenshit Yellow Dogs and such to avoid accountability in their minds. A blanket pardon would mean that all Democrats are responsible for every drunken car crash, petty theft, or beaten spouse, ad infinitum. FOX Bonus points for incidents involving…you know…non-whites…
The Department of Just-us finds its personification in Trump. It’s so hard to imagine the pain of families, especially children, whose loved ones are in prison for non-violent drug crimes. I hope that Biden continues the clemency program started by Obama and makes it a part of his entire term.
Here in Oregon, we released everyone who had that kind of conviction. Who wants to pay for their incarceration especially when it’s all legal now? Of course, now small quantity of any illegal drug is legal now. We effectively have ended the war on drugs in this state. We’re like Amsterdam and Portugal right now :D
We also just added medical magic mushrooms as a treatment for PTSD. We truly are a place where we can try all kinds of experiments.
FWIW the Puppies Behind Bars organization is awesome.
Good for puppies, good for folks like Ms. Debo who probably didn’t have much background being loved the way a puppy can love, and good for the people who end up getting more mobility thanks to the help of a seeing-eye or other working dog.
“Ms. McKenzie is the mother of three U.S. citizen and is active in her local church”
So is non-attendance in church a strike against any potential pardonee?
Just asking for an atheist friend.
Thanks for this note, mistermix. Maybe pardons could be reviewable, like FISA warrants, but there’s still a place for them.
@Viva BrisVegas: I hope not. But I think steady church membership is cited to show connectedness to a community, an attribute that can also be shown by other activities such as neighborhood volunteering.
@Barbara: there is no fucking need to wait till Christmas time or end of 4 year terms to dole out pardons. It’s disgusting actually.
Own what you are doing and state why they deserve the pardon. And fuck the majority of the noise on pardons (excluding the ones that were white collar criminals buying their way out)
J R in WV
I’m all in on blanket pardons of marijuana convictions, just as President Jimmy Carter pardoned draft evaders who fled to Canada to avoid participation at gun point in an illegal war. As I agonized over my impending draft into the Army or Marines, my father mentioned that he had friends in his business in Canada, and could probably help me arrive there legally with a job waiting.
Sometimes I wish I had taken him up on that. I was shocked, though, as my dad was a life long Republican, although strong on personal freedom, integration, gays are human beings, etc. A Rockefeller Republican they were called back then when such a person existed.
I can’t help but imagine that Cuomo took a private moment to enjoy how much better his pardons are than Trump’s.
I am all for these sorts of pardons but there is something about how medieval it comes off as — the ruling authority granting wishes, almost abritrarily. We need a better system, one that is more comprehensive and standardized.
@J R in WV: It’s a goddamn shame they don’t exist anymore.
I’m just checking in to see whether fatso’s granted posthumous pardons to Al Capone and John Dillinger yet.
My suggestion on how to clean up the pardon system is to make it available only in a president’s first full term and then only until the end of August in a presidential election year. You want to pardon assholes who went to prison while working for you? Fine. Do it before the election and defend your actions to voters. (And yes, I know it would require a constitutional amendment.)