2016 October 05
On Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, President Obama granted clemency, forgiveness of a sentence, to 214 incarcerated individuals, 67 of which were serving life sentences in federal penitentiaries. This raises some questions about what clemency actually entails. Clemency, under the US Constitution, allows the President to grant pardons and commutations to federal prisoners.
A pardon is complete forgiveness in sentencing. Upon release, the person will not have any civil disabilities; meaning that they can serve in a jury, vote, or hold office if they chose to do so.
A commutation is more likely to be a reduction in a sentence rather than having it be completely erased (though an immediate release is possible).
The biggest difference between a pardon and commutation is that those who receive a commutation still face civil disabilities and are still unable to vote, etc.
The President’s power to grant pardons is limited to the federal level. On the state and local level, only the governor of the state has the power to grant prisoners pardons.
As of August 2016, President Obama has shortened or ended the sentences of 562 incarcerated individuals, more than the last nine presidents combined. He states that “The power to grant pardons and commutations (…) embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”
Neil Eggleston wrote on the White House Blog that “All of the individuals receiving commutation today, (were) incarcerated under outdated and ...
2016 September 28
The topic of redistricting elicits reactions from all sides because its effects are heavily felt in elections; no party wishes to be disadvantaged due to district lines. Conflicting interests continue to seek a balance between majority power, geography, and the concept of fair elections.
2016 September 20
How did these candidates get on the ballot? Why are they in particular on the ballot, while others who may have been running don’t appear? For that matter, how do the candidates of the two major parties get on the ballot? The answers to these questions depend on your state’s ballot access laws.
2016 September 14
On May 26, 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law HB 953, or what media outlets are dubbing the “Blue Lives Matter” bill. The first of its kind, HB 953 prosecutes crimes against law enforcement and other first responders as hate crimes, increasing their penalties and punishments.
2016 September 02
Gun control will continue to be an emotionally charged topic as mass shootings are a major driver of the conversation.
2016 August 31
Each year, as billions of dollars are funneled into American elections, more and more questions continue to rise regarding not only the legality of these financial contributions, but also the true intentions behind them.
2016 August 26
Use of renewable energy sources is definitely a contentious issue in some states, with some passing legislation, and other states’ governors taking things into their own hands and signing agreements having to do with energy.
2016 August 18
Daily fantasy sports is a concept that is as tricky to say as it is to understand. It exists in a legal gray area that has remained unregulated for years. Recently, after several scandals that brought widespread public attention, legislators have attempted to define and regulate the practice.
2016 August 16
One of the most contentious issues in 2016 has been the question of gun control.