Over at Cognitive Dissidence, Jeff Simpson thinks Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is to blame for falsely or needlessly imprisoning “thousands” of Wisconsinites.
According to Walker, under the supervision of JB Van Hollen, the Wisconsin Justice Department has falsely or needlessly imprisoned “thousands” of Wisconsinites unnecessarily.
The only problem with Simpson’s statement is that it’s absolutely untrue, because the task of imprisoning individuals falls to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, an agency Attorney General Van Hollen has absolutely no control over. What’s more, the Department of Corrections only imprisons individuals after those individuals are convicted by the Circuit Courts, which also do not fall under AG Van Hollen’s purview.
While there’s certainly no shortage of things to criticize/attack J.B. Van Hollen for, attacking him for something he actually has no control over is dishonest and only serves to discredit the source of the attack.
The fact is, there’s a lot to be critical of when it comes to Gov. Scott Walker’s refusal to use his power to pardon Wisconsinites who may have been wrongly convicted without needing to resort to dishonest & inaccurate attacks. For example, we can take a trip in the wayback machine to 2011, when I noted how absolutely clueless Gov. Walker was when it comes to what his role is in regards to pardons, with a Walker spokesperson saying at the time that Gov. Walker “believes these decisions are best left up to the courts.” Obviously the Wisconsin Constitution makes it clear that decisions on pardons aren’t “best left up to the courts;” they’re the sole responsibility of the Governor of our state.
Gov. Walker’s refusal to use his constitutionally-granted pardons powers is back in the news after he ruled out the possibility of a pardon for Eric Pizer, a twice-deployed Iraq War veteran who has obtained a college degree since being convicted in 2004 for felony Substantial Battery, his only criminal conviction. Pizer had sought a pardon so that he can pursue his dream of becoming a police officer, a dream that Gov. Walker has made it clear is all but dead.
“If you pick one there’s thousands of other examples out there of people who may not have the media or other outlets behind them, who would be in an equal position who probably have a compelling case to be made that we don’t yet know about,” said Walker in an interview with WKOW.
Gov. Walker’s decision not to use his pardon powers is yet another example of how he governs based on his own political self-interest, rather than actually making a decision that might be unpopular with some portion of the electorate. After all, one only needs look at Gov. Walker’s decision not to make a decision on the proposed Indian casino in Kenosha until after he stands for reelection in 2014 as further proof of that point.