22 June 2009

Juvenile LWOP Clemency Smokescreen?

Susan Greene at the Denver Post suggests that it is likely that Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's special panel convened to review juvenile life without parole case in the state is likely to recommend clemency for none of the three dozen people serving life without possibility of parole sentences in Colorado for crimes committed while they were under age eighteen, and that Ritter is likely to follow this recommendation. She further suggests that this was the plan all along, as telegraphed by a law enforcement heavy set of appointments to the panel.

The legislature has abolished this penalty for juveniles in the state prospectively, allowing parole to be considered after forty years, but provided no relief to those currently serving these sentences.

Governor Ritter argued in the abstract that one can't always govern in a way that makes your base happy in a recent all day interview of Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters program, and a refusal to grant clemency in these cases would mark yet another instance of making decisions that weren't well telegraphed with the public and mark a serious break from his Democratic party political base.

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