Time To Rethink The Presidential Pardon

I don’t like how the presidential pardon is used for political purposes. I am totally against the convicted federal criminal Sheriff Joe Arpaio receiving a pardon from President Donald Trump.

If you support him, you support your local sheriff IGNORING the law by racially profiling latinos, going after political opponents (allegedly), and violating a legal order from a federal judge.

Anyone who argues “but Obama” is intellectually dishonest with themselves and others with whom they make that argument. Every president in my memory seems to abuse this Constitutionally valid provision for the president to pardon.

“… he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” (USCS Const. Art. II, § 2, Cl 1)

I understand a president pardoning or commuting the sentence of someone who received a morally questionable sentence or conviction. By the way, pardoning and commuting are different.

According to the Justice Department, a commutation of sentence reduces a sentence, either totally or partially, that is then being served, but it does not change the fact of conviction, imply innocence, or remove civil disabilities that apply to the convicted person as a result of the criminal conviction.

Separately, a pardon is an expression of the President’s forgiveness and ordinarily is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or completion of sentence. It does not signify innocence.

I’d like in the next election for a moderator to ask candidates about their thoughts on the presidential pardon.

What would you change about the pardon power?

Ethan Explains California Proposition 62

Ethan Explains California Proposition 62

This is number 12 of 17 of the California statewide ballot initiatives in 2016 that I’ll cover. Proposition 62 is the “Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.” Also known as the “Repeal of the Death Penalty Initiative.”

Does anybody actually like the death penalty? The purpose of the death penalty is to apply the ultimate retributive justice to the most vile offenders against society.

Think of brutal serial killers who murder many and terrorize whole communities. Those people are why we have the death penalty.

Proponents of Prop 62 argue that the death penalty is costly and justice isn’t served when people stay on death row for decades. True. However, the reason they are on death row for decades is because of the people who are against the death penalty. See the circular logic there?

Look, California is not Texas or Oklahoma. Two states where it seems like there is a blood-thirsty approach to the death penalty and retribution. California is a restrained state when it comes to applying for the death penalty.

Further, I’d like our prosecutors to have the discretion to apply for the death penalty in the cases of the most egregious murderers. Plus, if it deters even one killer, it is worthwhile.

I say NO to Proposition 62.

Tune in to The Ethan Bearman Show Monday through Friday, noon to 2 p.m. on KGO 810 – www.kgoradio.com

Justice, Not Mob Justice

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I briefly discussed the tragic Trayvon Martin killing last night on my radio program. It is a sad, possibly racially motivated, killing of an unarmed teenage boy by an armed neighborhood watch member, George Zimmerman.

CNN’s has a disturbing headline, “CNN poll: Majority call for arrest in Trayvon Martin shooting.” What makes this so disturbing is the concept that because,”nearly three out of four Americans say the police should arrest the neighborhood watch volunteer who pulled the trigger,” a man should be arrested. That is not how the law in our country works. That kind of headline and article hearkens back to mob lynchings from darker periods in our nation’s history. Is that what we really want? Mob rule?

I fully believe that a person who commits a crime must be charged and tried within the framework of our judicial system. If George Zimmerman committed a crime, as defined by our laws, then law enforcement should arrest and charge him.

A civilized nation operates with a framework of laws that protect and defend its citizens. If our laws have a loophole which allowed Trayvon Martin to be killed and the killer to walk away, we can be angry, disappointed, or upset, but that doesn’t change the law. We also cannot write a law that goes back in time to make it a crime either. Ex post facto laws are specifically forbidden in the United States Constitution.

The problem here seems to center on Florida statute 776.013 aka “stand your ground” law. You might have heard of the “castle doctrine” before which allows a homeowner to defend his/her home with deadly force. There are excellent examples where the “castle doctrine” is reasonable such as this one about an Oklahoma mother. Florida’s law takes that further and extends the premise to essentially anywhere that a person “has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

This law in Florida is what has prevented police from arresting George Zimmerman thus far. He is claiming self defense and is therefore shielded by Florida law. So calling for George Zimmerman’s head does no good as the law is protecting him.

To prevent future killings of this type the law must be changed. How about going back to the castle doctrine for these definitions as current laws already allow for flexibility in prosecution when self-defense is truly the reason for a shooting?

We still don’t know all the facts in this case and it is important to continue watching the developments and not jump to convicting conclusions. As always, please do call, write, or email your legislators letting them know what you think needs to change.