Tag Archives: president obama

Commuted Sentences by Executive Order?

It’s no secret that I believe Barack Obama to be the worst president of my life time. And while I’m young and often times cynical about his decision making skills, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Just last week I commended him for switching from pleated pants to flat front pants. These are positive strides.

Also last week, which I will admit I missed when it was ‘news’, was the announcement of commuted sentences for 8 convicted felons by President Obama. One of the gentleman, Jason Hernandez, was sentenced to life in prison for a drug conspiracy charge when he was 18 years old on a charge that occurred when he was 15. According to a full story by Huffington Post, Hernandez was convicted when the disparity between crack charges and cocaine charges was much more vast (100-1 versus today’s 18-1). For these reasons, I believe the commuted sentence was proper, but it does give rise to three very separate issues:
1) Despite being explicitly stated in the Constitution, does the role of the executive circumvent the judiciary by commuting sentences?
2) Do we really support the idea of commuted sentences through executive power even if it is under the right circumstances?
3) The ridiculousness of victimless crimes and the subsequent sentences is ever so present.

I’ll start with the first one. Obviously my first reaction is that the sentence is simply outrageous and even with several “priors” as a juvenile, previous charges and convictions do not compile the same way some states apply “three strikes” laws or point systems for adults.
I also believe the justice system should exemplify its name…it should be just.
Executive orders and sentence commuting seem to circumvent the justice system and though we are a system of checks and balance, I struggle with whether or not this type of action is an overreach.
According to the US Department of Justice Pardon Attorney website:

Under the Constitution, the President has the authority to commute sentences for federal criminal convictions, which are those adjudicated in the United States District Courts. In addition, the President’s clemency power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. However, the President cannot commute a state criminal sentence. The President’s clemency power includes the authority to commute, or reduce, a sentence imposed upon conviction of a federal offense, including the authority to remit, or reduce, the amount of a fine or restitution order that has not already been paid. This form of clemency is different from a pardon after completion of sentence.”

The list of of commuted sentences and pardons which should not have occurred is more than likely long. Commuted sentences can illustrate significant discretion but that discretion is not stemming from the judiciary. Is that fair and just? Bleeding into #2, the issue arises on equality. Every case has its own facts and circumstances but at what point is it just for one person to have a commuted sentence and not another? The justice system is flooded with mistaken facts, wrongful accusations and improper trials. Certainly each and every case can’t be examined by the Pardon Attorney. Is this an efficient avenue to ensure justice? If the idea is based on principle, consistency is key.

Number three goes a lot deeper, and victimless crimes could span a whole series of blogs, but to keep it short and simple…conspiracies surrounding drug crimes do not warrant life in prison. Who was harmed? Does a lifetime in jail offer retribution to society on behalf of Mr. Hernandez? Does the punishment fit the crime?
The way in which these questions are answered calls for further evaluation of the laws on the books, not necessarily review by the executive branch. It also brings to the light the problems associated with minimum mandatory sentences and the ambiguity that stems from such statutes. Life in prison. Based on minimum mandatory sentences and victimless crimes. Life. In. Prison.

So to sum up firm position between a rock and a hard place…
I believe Jason Hernandez’s sentence was unreasonable, unwarranted and unjust, however, I question the justification for use of executive authority by the president to commute this sentence (and others). And I simply don’t know how to go about fixing any of it.

Discuss.

Furious typing + sweat +boiled blood= raw notes

This is me, in front of the television tonight.

Because I am tired, speechless from stupidity and unable to translate this evenings debate into words, I have decided to publish my notes from the debate ‘in the raw’. We’ll see how this turns out. I have edited down from the 4 original pages to some highlights from our dear leader.

Notes in ‘regular font’ are things the candidate said (indicated by their name)
Notes in ‘bold’ are my own thoughts
Whenever you see lines resembling “jfkdlhflksdhfjksdhf”, you can insert your own expletive.

9:00pm
Gosh I hate how Obama walks. He is so pompous.
O: Michelle, next year we won’t be celebrating our anniversary in front of 40 million people…exactly. Cause you’ll be back in Chicago.
O: The auto industry has come roaring back (lie), the housing market is has begun to rise (lie)
I wish he would keep his hands down. It’s so distracting

R: Romney: 5 basic parts to encourage growth: energy independent, open up more trade, make sure people have skills need to succeed, balance the budget, champion small business . Small businesses are at a 30-year low.(WHY AREN’T YOU MENTIONING OBAMACARE!!!!!)

Obama: Trickledown- Improve education. Made enormous progression drawing ideas. Race to the Top (YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT!) Hire 100,000 teachers? (WHOS GONNA PAY FOR THAT?) How do we deal with our tax code? How do we have enough revenue to pay for that? How can you call it addition to the deficit when the money is never pulled or supposed to be pulled from the people? Cuts aren’t spending! They are opposites!

Obama: I cut taxes for middle class families by $3,600. We do best when the middle class is doing well
(Uhh What did Joe Biden just say yesterday? Middle class has been Barry’ed?)
They can now buy a computer for their kid going to college, helps business. (LOL!)

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9:28 pm– first mention of Blame it on Bush.

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Obama: go back to bill Clinton tax era. Encourage job growth and make investments in education and energy (HOW?) 97% of small business would not see increase. Millionaires and billionaires are not small business (DEFINITION OF SMALL BUSINESS…make sure to look it up …………………)

For the record, folks, the definition of a small business is “A small business is a business that is privately owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales”

Obama: Cut those things that aren’t efficient…77 gov programs. aircrafts that the air force order, 18 education programs that weren’t helping kids learn, Medicaid/medicare fraud, cut $1 trillion out of discretionary budget,
$4 trillion deficit proposal: Its on the website…$2.50 for every cut, we ask for an additional $1 (WTF? I don’t know what you are saying. And I thought many of your constituents were at a disadvantage by not having internet. Now you tell us to visit your website so we can “see what’s in it”?)
Quit smirking.

Obama: Governor has ruled out revenue to address the deficit. (DUH! That’s what he just said you ding dong!)

Obama: Social Security is structurally sound. (Sir, get a grip.) The mere concept is ludicrous.
Obama: 4 years when I ran for office, I had same conversations. Small business couldn’t get affordable costs. Biggest driver of federal deficit…THEN WHY THE DSHDKASHDKASHDKSAH WOULD U MAKE IT A GOVERNMENT THING? People cannot get coverage. Insurance companies impose limits. (Aren’t there limits in car insurance too? You have to protect private companies at some point)

UGH!

Obama: This was a Republican idea. When he talks about this unelected board, group of healthcare experts to figure out how we can reduce the cost of care in the system overall. 2 ways to deal 1)leave a whole bunch of people uninsured. 2)how do we make the cost of care more effective. When completely implemented. Healthcare premiums have gone up but slower than 50 years. That’s like already getting a rebate (No words, just sweat and headaches)

Obama Race to the Top: we will give you more money if you initiate reforms. Lets’ hire 100,00 math and science teachers. Hard pressed states can’t do that. 100,000s of teachers laid off over the last few years. Government can’t do it all. We will have a better trained workforce. (Please tell me…if you couldn’t afford to pay them then, and they’re still broke, how can you pay them now? We’re looking for money in all the wrong places. Where’s waldo? Lets put wood on a burning fire when we should be looking for water to solve the problem and then find new, better materials to make for a sturdier system).

obama: significant program. Race to the top…budget reflect choices. Making college affordable…we were sending $60 billion as middle men. So they cut the middle man. Keep low interest rates. (these things are not related! you are off your rocker. Student debt is at an all time high…over $1 trillion!!!! why are you encouraging this!!!!!!)

10:29pm

I’ve had enough. Exhaustion sets in. And it’s over. But never too exhausted to argue with people on Facebook about their own commentary throughout the debate. Thank you and good night.