I’m reminded by some of my readers that I should stick with the law and criminal stuff and stay away from sports. As you know I predicted the Super Bowl teams (Sea Hawks/Patriots) a while ago and explained why that would happen because nothing else made sense from a financial point of view. However, the truth is I know little more about sports that a below average fan. My expertise lying in the criminal law area perhaps caused me to look at the NFL setup differently than most and there seemed to me every indication that things were preordained to a specific outcome.
Agreeing that I should keep my sports opinions to myself, I’ll get back to the criminal arena. In the two previous posts I wrote about the cruel way some are trying to deprive Mark Wahlberg of a pardon recommendation from the Advisory Board of Pardons (Parole Board). Even if the Parole Board recommends against the pardon the governor can still give one. The governor now in line to do that is Charlie Baker. Whether he does it will tell us a lot about the man.
The right to pardon is granted to the governor by the Massachusetts Constitution. The Massachusetts Supreme Court (SJC) noted that it: “is found in the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Article VIII, Section I, Chapter II of Part the Second provides that “The power of pardoning offences, except such as persons may be convicted of before the senate by an impeachment of the house, shall be in the governor, by and with the advice of council.””
Unlike in some states, the SJC stated that the Massachusetts Constitution requires both the governor and council agree prior to granting a pardon noting: “The unmistakable meaning of these words is that he can act only in conformity to the advice of the Council.” So what happens is the governor will decide whether to issue the pardon and the matter will go to the Governor’s Council which will then decide to grant it or not.
This brings me to hard-hearted Mitt Romney. In his years of governor he could find no person worthy of a pardon. The reason is, as we all know, he had bigger plans for himself. He cared little about people who deserved to have a second chance but only about his own political career. He wanted to be able to run for president saying he was “tough on crime.” I think it is sad that a person would be so selfish and care so little for other people.
Of course Deval Patrick is hardly better. Over a period of eight years he found only four people he could extend his mercy to. He too must be planning to run for some other office and will use his cruel attitude to those in need of a second chance as a reason to vote for him.
If the Parole Board recommends to Governor Baker that Wahlberg get a pardon, we will see what kind of stuff he is made of. We know he’s hard on people with little inclination to be merciful. Like Romney he comes from a background of pencil pushing and firing people from their jobs. He differed himself from Romney saying that he needed to do it to keep Harvard Pilgrim alive; Romney did it to make more money for himself and investors. Baker’s already frozen hiring in the state and removed all of Deval’s late term appointments showing all the signs of a tick size heart like Romney.
It would be nice if he pardons Wahlberg and then blew some fresh air of hope onto the many deserving people who should have some compassion and mercy shown them. He should show some courage by announcing he plans to be more generous when it came to second chances. We are supposed to be a community with a heart and that should extend to giving deserving people a chance to clear their records or to get out of prison earlier especially if the offenses happened in their teens or early twenties.
When Deval was first elected the Parole Board received 131 petitions for pardons or clemency more than twice as many as Romney received in his final year in office. In 2013 Deval received only 48. He, like Romney, granted no commutations. The word was out on both of them that those with criminal records need not apply. It’s time for a change but to get that we need someone with fortitude and who is willing to put others before his political ambitions. Breathe there a man? We can only wait and see.