[Disclosure:] I represent a client with a pending clemency petition with the Ohio Parole Board, but it is not any of the cases mentioned in this post.
Here’s today’s headline in today’s Columbus Dispatch: “Strickland frees killer he says is innocent.”
On its website, right below that story, they ask readers: “Do you think granting clemency to 78 people will affect the Governor politically?”
OMG! How could Governor Strickland decide a case that was tried better than the prosecutor who tried the Defendant for murder and the judge that heard all the evidence and found the Defendant guilty? The arrogance the Governor must be to insult the prosecutor and the trial judge by suggesting he knows better:
“The trial and sentencing judge in Mr. Knighten’s case determined that his original finding of guilt was in error and that Mr. Knighten has now served 12 years in prison for an offense he likely did not commit,” Strickland said in a statement. The sentencing judge, the late William Skow, sent the governor a letter this year saying he felt he had made the wrong decision in the case.
According to the Governor’s office, not only did the trial judge support Knighten’s petition, but so did the prosecutor. Oh, and the Governor didn’t even pardon the guy who was likely wrongfully convicted for a crime both the prosecutor and the trial judge have concluded he did not commit… he only commuted his sentence to time served. That means he will still have the conviction on his record. Of course, neither of these two points is raised in the Dispatch‘s coverage, even though the part about the prosecutor’s support was actually mentioned in the Governor’s press release.
And yet, the Dispatch gives a misleading headline followed by a readers poll about whether Strickland’s actions are going to cost him politically. (You know, letting a guy out of prison because he likely never committed the crime. Thus, also calling the Dispatch‘s use of the term “murderer” to describe the guy into question as well.) This after the Dispatch has been publicly castigating the Governor for . . . not issuing any commutations in non-death penalty cases… which they continued to do because the Governor hasn’t yet ruled on a clemency which Governor Taft already rejected.
You get the feeling that no matter what the Governor does, the Dispatch is going to attack the Governor for it?