Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office announced the issuance of pardons to 17 criminally convicted offenders last week.
A central question being presently entertained by many commentators on the justice system is this: How many more pardons might be in the works during the governor’s final year in office?
We wondered the same thing in a recent blog post. We noted in our February 12 entry that Hickenlooper’s legal team was scrutinizing the criminal records of nearly 40 current inmates convicted on marijuana offenses.
The governor has made strong public comments supporting sentencing reforms. He recently stated that “it is reasonable” for state residents to favor seeing more pardons issued in select cases involving nonviolent offenders convicted of minor drug charges.
Clearly, the governor’s move last week evidences that he intends to supplement strong talk with equally forceful actions. The announced pardons leave reformers hopeful that 2018 will be marked by a clear activist stance concerning pardons and commutations.
We submit that most reasonable people examining the biographies of some of the pardoned offenders would clearly support the governor’s intervention on their behalf. One pardoned individual is an overseas and medaled combat veteran who has been receiving steady promotions. Another is a long-struggling methamphetamine addict who turned her life around, went back to school and now works in the corrections system herself. One of the 17 individuals earned a post-conviction master’s degree and is now in company management.
Hickenlooper has reportedly pardoned 40 criminal offenders during his government tenure.
The year is still young.