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Morales' Clemency Petition Has Been Denied

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied Michael Morales' clemency petition.  Although a governor's denying a clemency petition is hardly surprising, something in Governor Schwarzenegger's Statement of Decision is a bit disturbing:

The change in Morales' life do not override the jury's decision of guilt and sentence, which have all been upheld by reviewing courts.  Being a changed man today does not change the nature of the murder and rape Morales committed against Ms. Winchell when he was younger.

The purpose of clemency is to recognize that a person can change -- that the person before the governor today is not the person before the jury 25 years ago.  According to Schwarzenegger, it doesn't matter what a person does while in prison: No one will be granted clemency. 

Perhaps this is the proper approach, and that governors should never grant clemency.  In fact, a lot of people would appreciate such a policy.  But if the governor will never grant clemency, let's end the charade.  The time of men like Ken Starr and the numerous other lawyers who handle these cases pro bono is too valuable to be wasted in a fruitless endeavor.

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