Governor Deval Patrick yesterday denied the first commutation petition to come before him since he took office, concluding that a man serving a life sentence for shooting a Boston political aide to death in 1971 received "just punishment."
This decision came in spite of unanimous support by the Parole Board, various community leaders and interested academicians for his petition. During his 36 years behind bars, King earned undergraduate and master's degrees, mentored fellow inmates, and participated in programs counselling youths about the pitfalls of drugs and violence. Nevertheless the governor felt this case did not meet the exceptional circumstances necessary for executive clemency.
By the age of 18, Arnold King had already proven to be a violent repeat offender. In the intervening years, however, he seems to have turned his life around. Can good behaviour while incarcerated be interpreted as really turning one's life around? Is it possible that for three and a half decades he was faking his rehabilitation and if released would return to his old ways? What do you think?
Should the decision of a Parole Board be set aside by a governor? I thought the governor relies on their judgment and just rubber stamps it. What's your opinion?