When It Comes to Pardons, the Law Is Not Dead

The American Bar Association has issued a call for a revival of the parole process, which has been under assault by the Obama administration.

Lawyers for prisoners say that, despite the fact that the number of parole requests has increased, their chances of getting a fair trial has remained virtually unchanged.

The APA’s letter comes just days after a federal appeals court upheld the Obama Justice Department’s policy that states cannot change the way they process parole requests.

Pardons are normally granted in a number of different ways, including by way of plea bargains or parole commutations, which the APA says “are often granted without an opportunity to challenge the evidence presented in the sentencing hearing or to present evidence that would have helped the court understand the defendant’s culpability.”

In other words, the APAs letter says, parole officers have no say in the process.

They do not get to choose whether to apply for a release or to ask the court to grant parole.

And, of course, they cannot appeal to the parole board.

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