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Democrats strangely silent on clemency

Executive BranchMartin Luther King Jr.Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

The recent commentary by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. ("Obama's unpardonable neglect of clemency," Jan. 13) was particularly interesting and pointed. In these days of concern about the death penalty, an always important topic aimed at the Democratic political base, few politicians indicate any concern for clemency. It has always been a position of risk.

I recall that Governor Ehrlich did this. In his column, he correctly points out that more Republican governors have established histories of clemency and post-conviction relief than have their Democratic colleagues. This should be an extremely important subject to everyone. The review of clemency petitions is undoubtedly not a priority for most governors, but it is a basic and important consideration for those in incarceration who have managed to transform themselves, those who have grown and matured from their earlier unlawful behavior. Clemency is indeed an extraordinary power of the governor's office and another basic example of the wonderful wisdom of our founders.

At this point, I am waiting for Governor Ehrlich's expected vicious attack from the left, but it has not come. Do they agree or disagree with his comments? Did the governor leave no earth for foxes? Perhaps those so willing to contemptuously attack a man who held concern even for those serving sentences for criminal behavior should reconsider their political judgments.

As we approach the day set aside in remembrance of a patient but passionate civil rights leader, who himself spent many hours in incarceration, we should give consideration to those undoubtedly less fortunate than ourselves who can only hope that their petition for clemency may be reviewed. And by the way, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a personal hero of my own, was a Republican.

David A. Kraus

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