The Inalienable Right to Rot in Jail


I didn't think anyone else picked up on Mitt Romney's disgusting brag, during the last GOP debate, that he refused to issue pardons as governor of Massachusetts. It came up when he said that yeah, maybe, sure enough he might pardon I. Lewis Libby.

MR. ROMNEY: I didn't pardon anybody as governor because I didn't want to overturn a jury. But in this case, you have a prosecutor who clearly abused prosecutorial discretion by going after somebody when he already knew that the source of the leak was Richard Armitage. He'd been told that. So HE went on a political vendetta.

MR. BLITZER: So is that a yes?

MR. ROMNEY: It's worth looking at that. I will study it very closely, if I'm lucky enough to be president, and I'd keep that option open.

The Politico's Roger Simon grimaced at this and he has a great column knocking Romney's apparent standard of Pardons for Famous Republicans and No One Else.

When he was 13 years old, Anthony Circosta shot another kid in the arm with a BB gun, which was not a nice thing to do.

And even though Circosta's shot did not break the kid's skin, Circosta was convicted of assault.

Which did not matter much as Circosta worked his way through college, joined the Army National Guard, went to Iraq and led a platoon of soldiers in the Sunni Triangle.

In 2005, while still in Iraq, Circosta petitioned then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for a pardon so that Circosta could become a police officer when he returned home. And the state Board of Pardons recommended that Circosta receive that pardon.

But Romney refused. Twice.

Someone else who might deserve a pardon is, of course, Cory Maye. Assuming the worst with his legal calender, he couldn't get a pardon before the year 2012 because Mississippi's talk-tough Gov. Hayley Barbour (who Chris Matthews wants to run for VP with Rudy Giuliani) refuses to pardon anyone. So would Romney's flip-flop one day apply to unjustly convicted people? Or just to people who Republican primary voters care about?