09 January 2011

Ritter Pardons More and Commutes Many Sentences

Governor Ritter took a measured stance in a second set of late in his term pardons and commutations last week, commuting the sentences of four people who were juveniles when their crimes were committed, two of whom had been serving life without possibility of parole sentences, a number of adults, and one retarded man, Joe Arridy, who was convicted of a murder committed in 1937 and was executed in Colorado decades ago, despite the fact that he was almost certainly innocent and another man was later convicted and executed for the same crime.

None of the clemency petitions granted the people serving sentences immediate release and many receiving clemency will still remain incarcerated for years to come.

Very different reasons seemed to be implicit in the different decisions. In one case, a juvenile clemency decision seemed to be based upon doubts about the culpability of the juvenile for the crime of conviction that he had argued was a mere accident rather than an intentional killing. In another case a co-defendant in a murder case had her sentence reduced to approximately the same length of the individual who had asked her to carry out the murder.

[The full story wasn't easy to find at the Denver Post website, so I hope to expand this with details from source documents later.]

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