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While agreeing that sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are too long, this Wall Street Journal op-ed piece argues that the large-scale clemency program planned by President Obama is misguided. It sets a dangerous precedent for using the clemency power beyond its traditional and intended purpose of providing a last-resort check on fairness and justice errors in individual cases, and instead uses the power to set sentencing policy. While many people will like the results of the current program, they will be less than happy when some future president uses it as precedent to promote a sentencing policy of which they disapprove.


Executive clemency, clemency criteria, nonviolent offenses, lengthy sentences, commutation, commutations, separation of powers, sentencing legislation, sentencing policy

Publication Title

Wall Street Journal

Publication Citation

Wall St. J., July 15, 2015, at A19.