My View: Unequal Justice Under the Law – Missouri Governor Chooses Politics Over Justice

Katie R. Ochoa

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

I observed this earlier in the 7 days.  I in fact clipped the picture to use it later on, but items got as well occupied and so by the time I acquired all over to publish it, the Washington Write-up by now put out an editorial on it.

Here’s the thing.  This 7 days, Missouri Governor Parson declined to pardon Kevin Strickland, a Kansas Metropolis gentleman who has used 43 several years in prison for a crime that even the prosecutors in his have county prosecutor’s office environment say he did not commit.  (I interviewed Kenneth Nixon, himself wrongly convicted and release on the Strickland circumstance this week).

In the meantime, the identical day, Governor Parsons pardoned the McCloskey pair.

This juxtaposition is exciting.  This is not an isolated case.  Lamar Johnson was convicted out of St. Louis, Kim Gardner, the prosecutor has been making an attempt to get the conviction overturned, in point, it seems absolutely everyone agrees that this is a wrongful conviction, but the supreme court ruled on a technicality from him and Parsons will not pardon him.

About this stage our dutiful commenter Keith Olson will stop looking through, will hurry to the remark segment and level out that the small outdated McCloskeys ended up just victims, they were being only preserving their home from the evil Black Life Matter  and had been wrongly prosecuted by progressive prosecutor Kim Gardner.

Oh spare me.  The McCloskeys have been so persecuted that they have been in a position to talk ahead of the Republican Countrywide Conference, they have misdemeanor fees and will not commit a day in custody.

This is about two harmless adult men who have used 69 Yrs in Jail for CRIMES THEY HAVE BEEN Verified Harmless OF.  In both equally cases, the true killers have pleaded responsible.

Meanwhile Mark and Patricia McCloskey, were photographed brandishing firearms at peaceful protesters outside their St. Louis mansion very last year.  They took misdemeanor pleas final month.  And they were being purchased to shell out fines.

Writes the Washington Submit: “it is intellect-boggling — and certainly appalling — that the individuals Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has observed time to pardon are the unrepentant gun-toting McCloskeys and not two Black adult men who have experienced the grave injustice of currently being locked up, with no finish in sight, for crimes they did not commit.”

If Ol’ Keith is however examining at this position, if he’s remaining trustworthy, he will in all probability opine properly, perhaps the Governor should really pardon all of them.

Even though I really do not agree that the McCloskeys have earned a pardon, that is unquestionably a much more ethical defensible posture than the one particular the precise Missouri Governor has taken.

Writes the Publish: “The U.S. Supreme Courtroom has termed clemency the “fail safe” of the judicial method, empowering executives to correct unjust outcomes — these kinds of as a wrongful conviction or a as well-critical sentence — on a circumstance-by-situation basis.”

But Parson’s situation is this not a priority.

He pointed out that Strickland was tried using “by a jury of his peers” and identified responsible. But he added that he understood there was “a great deal a lot more information and facts out there.”

This issue is in actuality about priorities.  Parson in a press meeting this 7 days, claimed he has a backlog of 3000 clemency requests.  Even more, ABC Information reviews, “He issued virtually no pardons before his reelection in 2020 but has given that begun issuing a team of pardons regular monthly.

“When a little something like that comes up, we glance at these scenarios, but I never know that that always makes it a priority to leap in front of the line,” Parson claimed for the duration of a Monday news conference. “We understand some scenarios are going to attract a lot more consideration through the media than others, but we’re just likely to glimpse at people points.”

But hold out a 2nd – did not the politically connected McCloskeys do just that?

The facts in the Strickland circumstance SCREAM for justice and justice was not served by the original prosecutor, by the jury, by the prison legal method and now by the Governor of the Point out of Missouri himself.

As the Submit factors out: “Strickland experienced been located guilty by a jury of his peers. Hardly ever brain that prosecutors eliminated the only four Black folks on the checklist of probable jurors, guaranteeing he confronted an all-White panel overseen by a White choose with White lawyers.”

By no means brain the Submit provides, “evidence amassed by the Midwest Innocence Challenge persuaded the area prosecutor to consider a further search at the case. The nearby prosecutor’s findings, corroborated by impartial review by federal prosecutors, established that Mr. Strickland is innocent of the costs for which he was convicted.”

As the Article details out: “In most states, when protection legal professionals and prosecutors concur that an individual is harmless — as is the circumstance with equally Mr. Strickland and Mr. Johnson — they are freed, but Missouri law limitations nearby prosecutors’ capacity to right wrongful convictions and presents an outsize purpose to the point out lawyer typical.”

They have recourse though and that is the Governor.

But the Governor is not heading to prioritize the release of a 62 calendar year outdated person who has served 43 years in prison for a criminal offense that he did not dedicate.  He will do it nonetheless for a very well off couple who served nary a working day in custody.

And that is what we call unequal justice.

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