Monday, December 22, 2008

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd," particularly when it doesn't have to do any heavy lifting

Shakespeare wrote that "Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge," and that "The quality of mercy is not strain'd ... it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown." But I'm not sure the Bard would have reacted with such noble sentiments upon seeing the handful of lightweight holiday-season clemencies offered up by Gov. Perry last week, mostly for penny ante offenses from decades past:
· Jerry Wayne Crownover of Arlington, 54, was convicted in 1997 of making a terroristic threat during an altercation with his brother, a Class B misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail. He is granted a full pardon.

· Wesley Baker Davis of Amarillo, 79, was convicted in 1947 of knowingly passing a forged check at the age of 18. He was sentenced to five years of probation. He is granted a full pardon and restoration of firearm rights.

· Marlyn Ann Linguist of Cedar Hill, 52, was convicted in 1976 of unlawful carrying of a weapon and theft at the age of 21. She was sentenced to three days in jail for both charges. She is granted a full pardon.

· Nicholas Villa Marquez of Comanche, 39, was convicted in 1989 of a misdemeanor at the age of 20. He was sentenced to six months’ probation and paid $725 restitution. He is granted a full pardon.

· Ruben Eduardo Ramirez of Galveston, 32, was convicted in 1996 of possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. He paid a $500 fine. He is granted a full pardon.

· Thomas Clyde Reedy of Denton, 59, was convicted of burglary in 1971 at the age of 22. He was sentenced to five years’ probation. He is granted a full pardon.

· Ronald John Ursin of San Antonio, 78, was convicted of indecent contact with a child. He was sentenced to 10 years probation. He is granted a full pardon. His pardon was granted after the victim and the woman who accused him both said the complaint had been fabricated during a child custody battle.
One feels particularly sorry for the 79-year old Amarillo man who only now had his firearm rights restored for the offense of passing a bad check in 1947 - there's a collateral consequence that hardly seems to fit the crime. Similarly, heaven only knows what injustices Mr. Ursin had to endure as a result of his false conviction for "indecent contact with a child" - a pardon at age 78 hardly makes up for years spent on the sex offender registry because of fabricated allegations.

Another that stands out to me is the pardon of Ruben Ramirez for a 1996 B-misdemeanor pot possession charge. It's not that I don't think it's merited, but it's hard to understand why the Board of Pardons and Parole would pick out one low-level pot offender to pardon when thousands of others are similarly situated.

14 comments:

rage said...

It's not that I don't think it's merited, but it's hard to understand why the Board of Pardons and Parole would pick out one low-level pot offender to pardon when thousands of others are similarly situated.

Come on. Money.

Robert Guest said...

I was at a criminal defense conference when a speaker began a presentation on Texas pardons. You never saw a room clear so fast.

The reason- my clients are as likely to get a pardon, as they are to be elected governor.

Rick Perry is pardon Grinch this Christmas.

Anonymous said...

What is really sad is if Mr. Ursin moves to another State like Nevada, he will still have to register as a Sex Offender. Many States will not accept Pardon's from other States. In Nevada the Pardon laws expressly state that a Pardon does not relieve one from registering as a Sex Offender and many States see Pardons as "Forgivness" only, not an "Exoneration". States like Arizonia and Wyoming, just to name a few, will arrest and prosecute a Pardoned Felon from another State for pocession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Pardon's are not what they used to be. Politics have watered them down so they mean little to nothing.

Anonymous said...

The real problem here is there should be nothing to 'pardon' in regards to past offenses. If someone has done their time, have paid their restitution people should allowed to move on with their lives. The pot smoker, the pardoned ex-registry person. I have no problem with the Police and the state keeping their records on past misdeeds. The day must come,however, when things such as the ex-"sex offender" registry must be over-turned and shown in its true light.. that of the continued punishment of persons that have done their time. Texas unlike several states even puts those without convictions on the registry, which should be illegal. But as we know, only those that have a place in government or unlimited wealth can get by that expost facto hurdle.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when he will start pardoning traffic violators? Imagine the savings in insurance costs.

Anonymous said...

Here are some questions from an un-informed person for any professionals who are gracious enough to answer:
1. Do the two individuals who falsely accused Mr. Ursin face any consequences, or do they move on unscathed? Does the statute of limitations apply to such an egregious false report?
2. Does Mr. Ursin have any remedies available to him, or is it too late for that, too?
3. And lastly, why did Mr. Ursin receive a pardon when under the circumstances the charges should have been dropped and the conviction vacated (or whatever the terminology would be)?

JohnT said...

Was that it? Were there any (even one) for a serious offense?

Anonymous said...

I guess Perry is not so benevolent
when it comes to the TYC employee who was fired from his job as a caseworker some thirty plus years later, while he was at work. This man has more than made ammends for a mistake he made when he was 19years old. He has earned at least one graduate level degree. He is an educator, a grief counselor, a police chaplain, a civic leader, a business owner, a volunteer, a Sunday School teacher and a husband and father. He worked with one of the most difficult populations while at TYC and his record there was as spotless as his criminal record has been since he was 19 years old. He was tried and convicted and did his time over 30 years ago. He was not the only one, just an example. I believe it's called collateral punishment when that happens. WHAT DO YOU WANT GOVENOR SCROOGE? We are all just sinners in the hands of an angry Govenor. This ordinary little sinner prays that, with all her faults, she never ever becomes as arrogant, self righteous and cold hearted as you and your posse.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Governor did not hurt his arm patting himself on the back!

What a generous man...NOT!! Honestly how can this man live with himself? He needs to stay out of TDCJ and keep DA John Bradley out of his office. Or both should be tied together and railroaded out of Texas.

Anonymous said...

No one totally "spotless," 7:14, including the "Whistleblower."

Anonymous said...

Govenor Perry's heart is as hard as his hair. I shouldn't have said that. I'm just a naughty sinner. Pardon me please St. Govenor Perry the Perfect.

Anonymous said...

Is Jerry Wayne any relation to state Rep. Myra Crownover out of Denton?

Red Leatherman said...

Disclaimer: yes this is going to be a sarcastic remark.
I am fascinated by anything I see or read about North Korea and how in every single thing the people always give thanks to Kim Jong-il for making it so. I'm thinking that maybe some of our leaders might be a little jealous and need a little more praise for what they do. okay so here I go, Oh thank you your magnificence Governor Perry for your most gracious Pardon to the innocent man Ronald John Ursin of San Antonio.

Anonymous said...

Too bad about Anthony's being turned down for a pardon again. BTW, I wonder how he got to be a police chaplain with a felony on his record.